Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Socialism Really Means - Part 2

Part 2:
Here's where Marxism actually applies (and I guess proof that Social Theory was something I'd actually use in the real world. Go figure). A worker at a factory making $5/hr compared to a CEO making $5million. Now that's getting something for nothing. The worker is in a potentially dangerous situation, making less than minimum wage, and actually creating the product. The worker is not only in control of the production but the overall company itself. Without the workers, there is no product. The CEO is actually relatively pointless. She wouldn't have a business without them, as she does not actually control the product (c'mon, they're always guys. Let's have some equality for a change!). Yet in the corporate environment, the worker is not allowed control over the means of production, but is subjected to the dictatorship or oligarchy of corporate rule with little regard to individual rights or sense of ownership. You are not an individual, a craftsperson or a citizen, but an employee. The company literally owns your livelihood. You have to subject yourself to their rule. Without that job, you cannot survive, because again, nothing in life is free. It's all owned by enterprise, now even before you're born until your body has decayed in the designer Batesville(c) casket your family purchased for you. Which is where the union came in-- to ensure that workers are treated fairly. (And anyone who had HR with me knows I'm not that fond of unions either... Remedied the unbalance with what's becoming more of an unbalance... but that's another story).

Wikipedia: "Socialists generally share the view that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and derives its wealth through a system of exploitation. This in turn creates an unequal society, that fails to provide equal opportunities for everyone to maximize their potential,and does not utilize technology and resources to their maximum potential nor in the interests of the public."

2% of the population owns over half the entire world's assets and wealth. (I can't find the page I was looking on, but I'm certain this statistic is also on Wikipedia somewhere... check "wealth" or something like that.)

Socialism isn't a government system, it's an economic system. To me, socialism is a form of utopia. Equality -- but not in the terms that some say it is today. It means that the workers have equal control over all means of production, that it is publicly owned (by all of them) and not privately owned by a few who make the rules. Everyone works together for the good of the group, because when the group wins, everyone wins. Most socialist theory actually combines free enterprise with socialism-- the mixed economy. You would think by this definition corporations would be a good thing. I think it's kind of obvious though, that everyone isn't winning. We seem to believe this sort of bullshit that says that everyone in America has an equal opportunity to start with, therefore anything goes. I don't know where you've been living, but that is absolutely not true. And as usual, the Haves ignore the Have-Nots. The self-centered "I have mine!" mentality is exactly what will tear this society apart.

I guess I would say it's much better to have lax/less-restrictive socialist policies (like we already have) implemented in our capitalist society than try to implement a strict socialist policy (which, yes, could hypothetically lead to authoritarian government and communism, again, because of flawed human nature and greed...). It's a great idea in theory, but again, a vast majority of people are self-centered, whether inherent or instilled by societal norms. Feasible programs would include social security, free health insurance, unemployment benefits, progressive taxation (the more you make, the more you pay back, because a flat tax is ridiculous), restricted welfare system, a single-payer health system. (Which, by the way, simply means that when you pay your taxes, the government pays the doctors, both public and private, instead of you having to directly pay a copay and insurance premium. It's meant to simplify the system and take out the middleman, where most problems arise. Not take over the world. Chill. A lot of Americans like their healthcare and hate their insurance company. Problem solved, no more insurance company. Though our new reform will keep the insurance companies but take out some of the biggest problems. So again, somewhat solved, for now.)

(Though here I'd love to mention that there were several incredible attempts to implement socialism. One was in a factory, and was quite successful-- until someone ran away with the profits -_-". Humans are hopeless.)

Splitting this into part 3, since apparently I feel a need to rant?

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