Socialism As A Means To A Brighter Future

French Flag SocialismWe’ve all been Socialists once, and will likely all be Socialists again.  When we were growing up, we had to depend on our parents to survive.  They redistributed their wealth to care for us helpless kids.  Therefore, it’s with great dismay when I see kids and teenagers disrespecting their parents.  Without them, they’d be nowhere.  Kids need to listen to their parents, thank them for all they’ve done and give back when they can.

When we retire, we depend on government through Medicare and dependable Social Security to take care of us since we likely haven’t saved or invested enough to care for our own.  You’d think it would be rational to save a good percentage of your money every year, so that after 30 years you’ll have millions of dollars, but example after example says otherwise.  The government redistributes wealth from the richer working population who likely won’t need Medicare and Social Security and funnels their income to you.  Therefore, it also dismays me when people who receive support from the government debase the rich for not paying their fair share.  They are paying for you as money doesn’t come out of thin air.

WE’RE ALL EQUAL AND DESERVE THE SAME LIBERTIES

There’s nothing wrong with being a Socialist and believing in the ideals of Socialism so long as we’re the ones benefiting.  It’s only logical to want to promote Socialism if you don’t have the constant drive to outperform.  Not everybody is Superman, and nor should they be.  Socialism provides a comfort that we will always be taken care of, no matter how little we try.  Imagine getting 60 months of unemployment through my Shock & Awe Yeah program instead of only 99 weeks, how much better work would be.  By eliminating the constant stress of competition and survival, we become happier as we focus our attention on more important things such as family, friends, and living the good life.  Comparing ourselves to others and always trying to surpass the Jones is a straight route to unhappiness.

Socialism is why Universal Healthcare, also known as Obamacare in the US is critical to the promotion of a better America.  Genetic diseases do not discriminate between the poor or rich.  Getting wealthy is easy with effort.  However, no matter how healthy you eat and how often you work out, if you are genetically destined to get cancer, you will get it, and may likely die.  You shouldn’t be denied health-care just because you are poor and cannot afford it.  You shouldn’t have to go bankrupt just because of an illness.  In a country as rich as ours, every US citizen deserves a health-care safety net.

It’s easy to shoot down Socialism because of the belief that it breeds laziness.  Why should I work hard if someone else doesn’t and gets paid the same?  Socialism isn’t about that, it’s about making sure everybody has a minimal standard quality of living.  The below story is something to ponder.

A Parable About Socialism

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat and very much in favor of higher taxes to redistribute wealth to support more government programs that help others such as herself.

She was deeply ashamed of her staunch Republican father, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his and not share it with the rest of society.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs.  He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, ‘How is your friend Audrey doing?’ She replied, ‘Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She’s always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn’t even show up for classes because she’s too hung over.’

Her selfish father asked his daughter, ‘Why don’t you go to the Dean’s office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.’

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father’s suggestion, angrily fired back, ‘That’s a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I’ve worked really hard for my grades! I’ve invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!’

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, ‘Welcome to the conservative’s philosophy.’

THERE WILL BE WAR WITHOUT SOCIALISM

We all know that grades don’t matter in school because we are all special.  Hard work is for those who aren’t smart enough to work smarter.  What matters is that we eliminate the classes by narrowing the ever increasing gap between the rich and poor.  It’s unbelievable how wealthy some have become over the past couple decades, while the middle to lower income people continually get squeezed.  It’s not right, and I know everybody knows this.

You may have that random hoodlum in the subway who gives you grief like I experienced this past week when my golf clubs were taking up too much space.  When they call you curse words you take out your driver, wield it with a crazy look in your eye and ask, “What the fuck is your problem punk?!“.  You have to stand up for yourself and fight back in this world of Capitalism.  You might get beat up, or they might cower away, apologize and ask you to forget about it like they did after I was about to start swinging.

In Socialist society, the punk kid who probably didn’t study very hard in school, works a minimum wage job, and still lives at home with his parents wouldn’t have the anxiety and rage to lash out against someone who was minding their own business on the subway.  All his fears about living a low class life forever would melt away because he knew he’d be guaranteed a good standard of living under Socialism.  With Capitalism, there’s immediate tension thanks to class warfare.  There’s resentment against anybody, whether true or false who might have it better than you.  That’s no good.

ACCEPT & EMBRACE

We need to embrace Socialism for the foreseeable future.  This is where our society is heading and there’s no point fighting it.  Keep your head down and do not brag about your successes.  Always try and keep as low a profile as you can.  We are in this economic fight together.  Let’s help out our comrades today.

Readers, why don’t more people see the good in Socialism?  Is the redistribution of wealth so bad if we can prevent class warfare and increase the standard of living for more people?  Can you name some countries that have employed Socialism to lift the standard of living for its people?

Congrats to François Hollande for being the new President of France!

Regards,

Comrade Sam

If you believe that everybody should be treated equally, please sign up for my RSS Feed or E-mail Feed and keep in touch.

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. Paul Fernhout says

    On the GPA sharing analogy, see Alfie Kohn (“Punished by Rewards”) or Dan Pink for studies have shown that reward generally decreases performance on intellectual tasks requiring creativity. Search especially for an YouTube video featuring Dan Pink called “RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us”. That is not to say we don’t need money in this society, or that money does not correlate with happiness up to around US$75K a year for most people. Alfie Kohn has an essay called “From Degrading to De-Grading” on why grades decrease the quality of academic classes and student cooperation to help each other learn.

    Another spin on the GPA situation might be asking the woman to tutor her friend in academics, while her friend tutors her in social skills? Or maybe that the friend kept the woman from OD-ing once related to academic stress or a breakup with a boyfriend. What if her friend brings her fresh veggies to eat at study breaks to keep the woman in top health? What if her friend was involved with lobbying the university President to keep the department the woman is studying in from being shut down? Most people contribute to society in various ways that even if they may not be compensated monetarily. What if her friend was the reasons some person felt better about himself from a kind word and so did not do something horrible on campus as with some tragedies? Would it be better if such a friend had been expelled earlier for a low GPA, before the kind word was said?

    As I see it, discussed on my site, there are at least five different types of transactions that form different sub-economies: subsistence, gift, exchange, planned, and theft. A society has some balance of all of these based on its culture and history — and that balance can change as technology or culture changes. A healthy society probably has a lot of all of the first four, and little of the last. In the case of exchange, since there are fundamental reasons “the rich get richer”. Studies show that societies with high inequality are unhappier — even for the wealthy there. The money-based exchange market only hears the needs of those with money, which is why people can starve next to full grain silos.

    Something like a “basic income” (as social security for all from birth) can soften the exchange economy so it works better to avoid people being left out by increasing economic equality somewhat. That can also replace all other forms of need-based public assistance like welfare or food stamps or unemployment insurance, as well as things like minimum wage laws and employment discrimination laws and such, perhaps even public education as well. A basic income as a human right in an advanced technological society includes acknowledging all the unpaid volunteer labor that goes into a real society — including parenting, being a good neighbor, being an informed citizen, and so on. It also acknowledges a claim on the productive commons where the land and patents and copyrights have “enclosed” so much productive capacity that individuals can not do subsistence production even if they wanted to.

    Paul Krugman, along with previously several other Nobel-prize winning economists (see the Wikipedia page on “basic income” and also “social credit”), recent endorsed something like a basic income as probably the only answer to increasing technological unemployment in the 21st century. Search on “Sympathy for the Luddites”. Something like a basic income passed the US House around 1970 under Nixon, and almost passed the US Senate. There is a growing movement for it in Germany.

    To get back to the GPA example, imagine if was the partying lesser-academically-inclined friend had the 4.0 GPA because her parents were friends with the Dean, and because she had lots of “tutors” who did her homework for her, and that the woman who worked her butt off was getting a 2.0 GPA being graded on a curve. That is more like what we have in the USA today for most people — many of which work long hours at minimum wage jobs, with various reasons in their history or current family circumstances why they can’t do better financially.

    For more ideas, search also on “Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science that Makes Life Dismal” and “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger” and “The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future”. I also wrote a related essay called “Basic income from a millionaire’s perspective?” listing reasons why most wealthy people and their families would ultimately benefit from a basic income.

  2. Machoman says

    Two articles that describe the coming disaster that is Nobamascare. http://healthwyze.org/index.php/component/content/article/364-the-health-care-bill-how-the-system-really-works-and-the-unfree-market.html

    http://healthwyze.org/index.php/component/content/article/357-the-repercussions-of-the-health-care-bill.html

    lastly, from one of the great Economic Minds of our time, why Socialism will always be an “Epic Fail”. Socialism is Flawed and always will be.

    “Without calculation, economic activity is impossible. Since under Socialism economic calculation is impossible, under Socialism there can be no economic activity in our sense of the word … All economic change, therefore, would involve operations the value of which could neither be predicted beforehand nor ascertained after they had taken place. Everything would be a leap in the dark. Socialism is the renunciation of rational economy.” — Ludwig von Mises, Socialism, 1981, pp. 103-105.

    http://capitalismmagazine.com/2000/06/why-socialism-must-always-fail-ludwig-von-mises-on-economic-calculation-under-socialism/

    sorry, had to end all the irrational thinking in this grand imaginary utopia world of sunshines and rainbows where unicorns shoot magic colorful rainbows out of their horns and pixies fly around spreading pixie dust. Welcome back to reality and history.

    • says

      It is sunshine and rainbows. My financial nut is providing a good return as the real estate and stock market match to record highs and I no longer have to work for a living as a result. Doesn’t that sound good to you?

  3. Machoman says

    The problem he identified was not lack of motivation on the part of planners. Instead, the cause of socialism’s irrationality is that those highly motivated and competent civil servants have no rational mechanism to guide their productive efforts and thus any decisions they make are necessarily arbitrary. Their position is akin to that of the captain of a ship in the midst of the ocean without a compass. No matter how able he is, any efforts he makes to set the course of his ship are doomed from the outset.

    Although Mises’ analysis is purely economic, it illustrates the effects of an abstract philosophic principle in an economic practical context. That principle is that capitalism is the only economic system based on reason, while socialism rests on arbitrary whim. While capitalism cannot be effectively defended solely on economic grounds, Mises’ exposition is of tremendous value to philosophical defenders of capitalism.

    Mises’ conclusion can be combined with the defense of capitalism on the basis of the rational moral code defined by Ayn Rand (in “The Virtue of Selfishness” and “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal”). In a brilliant demonstration of the power of integration, the philosophy of reason and sound economic theory concur to uphold the rationality of capitalism and expose the patent irrationality of socialism.

    The truth of Mises’ analysis was confirmed by historical experience. The irrationality of socialism was revealed in the fate of all socialist experiments conducted throughout the twentieth century. Stalin’s Ukraine famine, the widespread starvation brought about by Mao’s “Great Leap Forward,” the decadent misery that is a daily fact of life in North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, and all other socialist utopias is writ large for the full slate of the practical manifestations of Mises’ conclusion that “Socialism is the renunciation of rational economy.”

    Now if only the economic professors at Yale and Harvard could grasp this fact.

  4. Machoman says

    A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.

    There are many socialists who have never come to grips in any way with the problems of economics, and who have made no attempt at all to form for themselves any clear conception of the conditions which determine the character of human society.

    Socialism knows no freedom of choice in occupation. Everyone has to do what he is told to do and to go where he is sent.

    Socialism… is not the pioneer of a better and finer world, but the spoiler of what thousands of years of civilization have created. It does not build; it destroys. For destruction is the essence of it. It produces nothing, it only consumes what the social order based on private ownership in the means of production has created.

    Socialism is unrealizable as an economic system because a socialist society would not have any possibility of resorting to economic calculation. This is why it cannot be considered as a system of society’s economic organization. It is a means to disintegrate social cooperation and to bring about poverty and chaos.

    The socialists of Eastern Germany, the self-styled German Democratic Republic, spectacularly admitted the bankruptcy of the Marxian dreams when they built a wall to prevent their comrades from fleeing into the non-socialist part of Germany.

    • says

      If Socialism is bad, why is America becoming more Socialist eg universal health care, redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, bigger government? We the people voted for bigger government.

      Have you ever lived in Europe? Life is awesome out there!

  5. Brian says

    I don’t know if Anyone mentioned this but the parable about grades and conservatism is erroneous: in the college scenario, All Students have equal access to school resources while, in the economic scenario alluded to by the notion of conservatism-versus-higher-taxes, not Everyone has access to the same economic resources. The other points You make I think are quite good, though.

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