1. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Socialism vs Capitalism

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by lordofhats, Nov 5, 2008.

    I went searching through the forums and was surprised there wasn't a threat actually about this specific subject (though whenever there's a discussion of politics it seems to find it's way in... like a ninja :eek:).

    I could probably type about this for hours and get a whole books worth of what I think so I won't bore you. What do you think? Is capitalism better? Socialism? Are they both bad? Are they good together? Bad together? What?

    PS: This is a discussion on the economic positions of these two ideologies, but socialism is also a political system. Please avoid the political aspect unless it directly relates to economics. It's not about Mob Rule (aka Democracy) versus Worker Rule, it's economics.

    I prefer a mixed economic system with a lean more towards capitalism than socialism. Capitalism is the more flexible of the two system, with a stronger ability to survive crisis and change, but also suffers from a wide degree of instability with unavoidable highs and lows. Socialism, on the other hand, while stable and more equitable, is less flexible and it only takes a little nudge to knock down the cards. I prefer a system with survivability over stability, as a collapsing economy is worse than one in a slum or depression. At the same time though, a little bit of incorporation of stabilizing factors from Socialism mixed with the flexible Capitalist system can improve stability and equity without outright destroying the systems ability to grow and survive.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Socialism has failed in most places where it iss the dominant economic force, simply because there is no strong incentive to produce and innovate at a higher level. Survival in a capitalist system goes to the one who can deliver the greatest amount of product to the market at the lowest cost.

    The greater the net productivity of a population, the better their overall standard of living. Sucess in business under a capitalist system results in a higher standard of living relative to one's peers, which is also a powerful incentive.

    The trick is to introduce enough controls so the business hierchy is not unduly exploiting the low level workers who are a vital resource as well as being people. The controls necessarily under socialism to promote productivity are all applied to the individual, and foster resentment and rebellion by their nature.
     
  3. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Well said, Cognito. In most of the 'mixed' countries in Europe, their unemployment rates are twice what ours is now in a recession..there is very little impetus to create things or to succeed because people know they hard earned money will be taken from them and given to others who won't produce (not that i'm against giving to those who CAN'T produce...that's a different story)
     
  4. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ideally, socialism would be the best. Fair. Equitable. No one owns anything, and everyone owns everything. We would all share all we have and be a happy cohesive society. That isn't going to happen. We are human. We are too selfish and lazy. We don't want to work hard to give our earnings away to someone else. If we get everything we need for free, why work? At the same time, pure capitalism creates a big gap between the haves and have nots. There is great potential to exploit for personal gain those who don't have as much. I would love a society where everyone recieved healthcare, dental, basic food and shelter no matter their income. Incentive to work and be productive would come form wanting more than the minimum. But, society takes care of its own. That is what I would like. A blend. A nice healthy blend.
     
  5. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages. We can only determine which is better by what each individual prefers. Some people just can't do things themselves and must rely on others whereas some people would rather do things without interference.

    If only I could remember more from my Economics class then I could contribute better. :(
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ideally, all gases would follow Charles' Law at all temperatures and pressures, but it wouldn't be the real world. In fact, too many things depend on the fact that gases do not behave ideally.

    Socialism sounds great in theory. It just doesn't work well in the real world.
     
  7. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    THe US is a mixed economy but we lean very heavily towards capitalism with only a few hints of government regulation, which is how I like it.

    Ironically, this is why socialism doesn't work. We are selfish and lazy and we need incentives to get things done, which capitalism is better at providing.

    This is not an aspect of capitalism. This is an aspect of life. Furthermore here's what a lot of people seem to confuse when I talk to them about this. The laborers, the guys who work in the cubicles and the dudes on the assembly lines, incur no risk economically. They work and the will get paid. It's a must, a definite there is no doubt about it.

    The investors incur risk. They can pay $5000 into something and end up owing $10000. Likewise they could walk away with $10000. Those who incur risk will be widely rewarded much more than those who do no and those who can manage risk well will get filthy stink'n rich.

    Now those workers can invest as much as anyone else. Often in a irst world nation poverty is the result of poor choices and bad handling of one's personal resources, and has nothing to do with the haves and have nots. Often the have nots are self created (in a level playing field that is).
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Anyone read The Dispossessed by Ursula K Leguin? Awesome bit of sci-fi lampooning the extremes of either system.
     
  9. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    They may get paid, but it's also very easy for companies to take advantage of them. On top of being lazy, people are also greedy.

    Pure socialism/communism isn't a good idea, but a certain amount of it is. Not all companies can afford to give their employees health insurance. I don't know much about the economy, but it does make sense that making it easier for people to stay healthy and able to work would be good for everyone concerned.
     
  10. PrincessGarnet
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    PrincessGarnet Contributing Member

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    I think it's quite interesting reading a few of these threads on politics, europeans seem to think they have it better than americans and vice versa, so i guess it's hard to be totally objective.

    I find interesting that since fall of communism in eastern european countries gender inequality has become a problem, before men and women were earning quite similar - ok they were both poor, but there has been social implications because of this and in some countries this is a major factor in human trafficking of females.

    Also I don't see capitalism being allowed to help developing countries because of the way developed nations have got their way in opening up developing world's economies while the developed world heavily subside their products and keep tariffs and trade barriers up - so i guess in that way if all economies were more capitalist the world might be less unequal, but then i guess that's what capitalism allows for, the more powerful to take advantage of the weak.
     
  11. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    Think about someone who fell down on the subway tracks. Suddenly, the subway train appears. Idealistically, you, or anyone else, will have no problem risking life and limb to jump down and save the person on the tracks.

    It’s not your duty to risk your life. Morally, you have no responsibility for someone else’s grave mistake.

    Is theft moral? If you spend a year sifting through river mud for gold, and another takes half your hard work and gives it to a poor man, isn’t that theft? But, wouldn’t it be ideal to just give to the poor?

    I guess what I’m trying to say is this: you can have a moral government [capitalism], or you can have an idealistic, immoral government [socialism].

    That’s if you think of morals objectively. Some could have a different take on them.
     
  12. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually DragonGrim, I would consider it my moral responsibility to risk my life to save someone from the tracks.

    As for the issue of theft, I am not sure that analogy is quite accurate. We already give part of our earnings to the govenment in the form of taxes. Are taxes theft? No. They are what we pay to live in our country and keep it running.

    As for morals, that is subjective. Some would consider it immoral to watch someone else's suffering and not help. Some consider taxes theft and therefore immoral.

    I don't think socialism is by definition immoral. The idea is to be fair and equitable. That is not immoral. In practice, it has been shown to not work. That is not the same thing.

    I don't think it is wrong or immoral to have to pay higher taxes to support socializes healthcare or other programs to equalize the availability or basic services to help keep all our citizens in the necessities for life and health. I would consider that my duty as a citizen to help my fellow citizens. Full socialism doesn't work. But, I think we can incorporate some aspects of it into our capitalism. Take the best of both and combine. I am big on compromise.
     
  13. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I agree. I operate on a principle where if I have the ability to, by my action or inaction, help or save someone else, then I am honour- and duty-bound to do so. Idealistic, maybe. But still, it's scarcely immoral.
     
  14. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    I am going to have to disagree. I believe if someone says that morals and ethics are subjective, then that is a tactic of sophistry. I strongly believe in natural rights. Most of the world does: check out the UDHR.

    A person is moral as long as he does not violate other's rights. Don't steal from them. Don't kill them. Don't hurt them. These things are echoed in every religion, civilization, chiefdom, tribe, and family.

    One cannot consider a person to be moral only if he or she helps others. At what point can one pursue one's own interests? There is a whole world of continual suffering.

    On government:
    Taking the same percentage from each citizen would be fine. Taking from one group and giving to another is not. The first is a prerequisite for a government: taxes are for the defense and upkeep of the country, and that is its only aim. The second is unethical. It aims to take from one group and give to another that did not earn it.

    If someone writes a bestselling book, why should she have to give a big chunk of the profit to someone else who never took the time to learn a skill?
     
  15. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    Definitely a straw man. Saving someone is not immoral, and not saving them is not immoral. Whether one acts or doesn't act makes no impact on morality. A hundred people outside a burning building are not immoral people. The man who dashes in and saves the dog is not more moral. He is just acting in a heroic manner.
     
  16. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Then I fail to see the disagreement. I thought you were saying that doing something to help someone else was immoral. Apologies if I was wrong.
     
  17. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    Sorry for calling it a straw man tactic then. I don't write arguments with an introduction, so I can see where someone could misinterpret it.
     
  18. PrincessGarnet
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    PrincessGarnet Contributing Member

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    I have a problem with this. It assumes that people who are poor deserve to be poor and doesn't take into consideration that people are born into different circumstamces and that some people need help to improve their circumstances. Also taxing everyone the same doesn't seem fair as it's going to have a greater affect on a poor person's income and thus keep them poor and make it more difficult for them to better themselves.
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Everyone should have the same opportunities. But people who have more aren't necessarily selfish, or undeserving of what they have earned.

    And there is a difference between a fixed percentage task (uniform, or flat rate tax) and a fixed amount tax (poll tax).

    A variation on the flat rate tax is a flat rate on anything over a fixed tax-free allowance. That gives more leeway to the very poor while not excessively burdening those who have worked hard to bring in more income.
     
  20. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    If someone taxed 10% of my crappy income versus someone taxing 10% of my friend's who make 4 times my income...it is going to affect me a LOT more.
     
  21. Ferret
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    Ferret Contributing Member

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    To quote Barry Goldwater, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take it all away."
     
  22. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's the exact sort of thing that happened in Russia, if I remember correctly. But there are certain things that should not be an issue with money, or at least not as much of an issue. We all have the right to be healthy and be well educated, if we so choose to be.

    There is the claim that socialism will make people lazy. Yes, it can. There are plenty of high school kids in Ontario who think they don't have to get a good education because they can live on welfare like their parents did when the factories shut down and there was no more work for them. Then again, there are plenty of lazy people in America. Its not an insult to the country, just a fact. There are lazy people everywhere.

    On the other hand, the way things work in Canada, the oposite can happen if parents teach good values. If I'd lived in America, I probably would not have cared so much about my grades because I would know that there was no way I would get into university because we'd never be able to pay for it ourselves and would not likely qualify for a loan that would be impossible to pay off, regardless of what I valued. Here, I knew that if I did well in high school, I would get into any school in the province, as long as there was space in the program I liked, and be able to get a loan to pay for. Higher grades lead to a better chance of getting in when there may not be much space, of course, which is highly likely in Toronto. Now I finished school and have a loan that I can pay off and will do whatever it takes to pay it off because I know I can.
     
  23. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    Rei

    Is that really what people hear about United States? I come from a poor family. I did terrible in high school and dropped out. But afterward I obtained a GED and worked hard at a community college, where I was inducted into two honor societies that help pay for the leap to a university. There are many grants and scholarships available.

    If you want an education in the United States, you can get one. There is no excuse not to.
     

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