Socialism and its roots


"The modern political marxist communist movement was created when the social democratic parties of Europe split between their rightist and leftist tendencies during World War I. The leftists, led internationally by Vladimir Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, to distinguish their brand of socialism from the "reformist" social democrats, were called "communists". However, after Luxemburg's and Liebknecht's murders the term communist became generally associated solely with the parties and organisations following Lenin, along with their various derivations, such as Stalinism or Maoism.

There is a considerable variety of views among self-identified communists. However, Marxism and Leninism, schools of communism associated with Karl Marx and of Vladimir Lenin respectively, have the distinction of having been a major force in world politics since the early 20th century. Class struggle plays a central role in Marxism. This theory views the formation of communism as the culmination of the class struggle between the capitalist class, the owners of most of the capital and the working class. Marx held that society could not be transformed from the capitalist mode of production to the communist mode of production all at once, but required a transitional state which Marx described as the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat."  wiki on "Varieties of Socialism"

"The French Revolution was preceded and influenced by the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose Social Contract famously began: "Man is born free, and he is everywhere in chains".[39] Rousseau is credited with influencing socialist thought, but it was François-Noël Babeuf, and his Conspiracy of Equals, who is credited with providing a model for left-wing and communist movements of the 19th century."  wiki on "History of Socialism"


SST has been besieged in recent days by socialist agitprop people evidently seeking to waste as much of my time as possible.  They are obvious provocateurs and I do not publish most of their scribbles and will not.  I have no intention of EVER providing a propaganda platform for them.

I am somewhat surprised to learn from your comments how many SST regulars are sympathetic to socialist goals and proposed measures in society and government, but your opinions are your opinions.

I am dismayed that some of you claim that it is "not helpful" to equate socialism to communism.  I don't think I have equated the two.  Perhaps those who think I have done that can provide a citation.  If you do, I will deal with it.

OTOH, it is my opinion that any attempt to claim that most forms of socialism are not related to the communist variety of socialism are deluded or uninformed.  There have been forms of socialism that were not related to the movement's Marxist history.  The Baath Party in Iraq was one such but the great majority of socialist parties have their roots in Marxist analyses or history.

IMO this is a subject worth discussing.  Those who make serious comments rather than propaganda statements will have their comments posted.  pl 

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84 Responses to Socialism and its roots

  1. Donald says:

    The important distinction is between democratic socialists who want to acquire power peacefully and the ones who prefer a violent revolution. The latter type always leads to disaster. The former type might fail, but can be voted out of office.
    And within the category of “ democratic socialism”, much of the time they aren’t really talking about governments owning the means of production, but only a bigger social welfare state. Medicare for all, for instance. Bernie Sanders is actually an FDR style liberal Democrat.

  2. Sean McBride says:

    Socialism is a pseudo-rational secularist cult, disguised as a “scientific” doctrine, distinguished by its inability to learn from its long succession of disastrous economic and social experiments all around the world for the past 100 plus years.
    Socialists keep making the same mistakes over and over again, with the same bad results every time, justified and rationalized by the same irrational excuses.
    It’s amazing that these people keep popping up, from one generation to the next, completely oblivious to the well-established track record with regard to socialism and all its Marxist variants. Clearly one is dealing with a psychological phenomenon (problem) here — a fundamental mind-warp than includes elements of messianism, grandiosity and infantilism.

  3. Peter C says:

    Few if any societies are devoid of any elements of socialism. Publically funded primary and secondary education, mail delivery, garbage collection, police and fire departments, and public roads are all beneficial to society. In the US, Medicare and Medicaid are generally considered to be good things, and it puzzles me that so many are vehemently against extending public medical care to the entire population. Such individuals likely have been duped by the insurance and drug industries and their minions.

  4. PJustison says:

    We have seen in history the malign effects of both unfettered capitalism, and of pure ideological socialism. Before any regulation of the economy in the USA, we had – children working in mines and factories; severe environmental degradation; frequent economic collapses; rapacious monopolies; dangerous drugs such as thalidomide; etc. And there has been no example of a socialist economy humming along without the concomitant severe repression of individual rights.
    Either theory of organizing the economy needs modification from the pure state to work in humanely. Once when asked my politics I respond semi-facetiously – “Progressive capitalist or pragmatic socialist, not sure which.”

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    IMO one of the confounding issues is weak, ambiguous, or incorrect use of terminology. So, for example, homogeneous consensus-oriented societies with strong social safety nets even though they may refer to themselves as “socialist” are actually highly capitalistic. They’re just small homogeneous consensus-oriented societies with strong social safety nets.
    EVERY large multi-ethnic multi-confessional country that has adopted socialism has adopted a form of Stalinism.

  6. Outrage Beyond says:

    “I am somewhat surprised to learn from your comments how many SST regulars are sympathetic to socialist goals and proposed measures in society and government.”
    I posit that such sympathies, which, as reported in the media, are also reflected in public opinion polls, particularly polls of “millennials,” are a natural reaction to the present-day pathologies of capitalism.
    In no particular order:
    Crony capitalism; monopolies, duopolies, and other such market-dominating companies; Wall Street parasites and other rent-seeking vermin; the military-industrial complex; bailouts and similar “socialism for the rich”; and the many other indicators of one set of rules for the wealthy and well-connected, vs. a savage Hobbesian style of capitalism for those starting from scratch.
    When the game is rigged, and most people know it’s rigged, they want something different. Opinion polls don’t reflect nuance; only the desire for something different, which is expressed as “socialism” but generally without defining it with any precision.
    I note that two of the most popular government programs in existence, namely, Social Security and Medicare, are socialist in nature. With that said, they are hardly Marxist, although young people forced to pay into these schemes might regard them as Marxist, or simply as scams. Some might also describe the US military as the largest socialist enterprise in existence in the USA.
    Basic solution? Level the playing field, break up the Wall Street parasite institutions, conscript all the Beltway Bandits into the military (no more outsourcing) and nationalize the war profiteers. While we’re at it, close the overseas bases, cut the war budget by half, then by half again, and use the money to invest in infrastructure, manufacturing, education, healthcare, and other areas where the country as a whole will get something in return, rather than most of it going to a tiny coterie of fat-cat parasites.

  7. eakens says:

    The peoples’s desire for socialism is but a mere symptom of the failed state when it comes to protecting the family unit and the well-being of its citizens. Layer on top of this the endless amounts of jealousy things like facebook and instagram feed, and you have a large part of this generation who are fighting to get on equal footing when it comes to their purchasing power of crap.
    I’d like to be a glass half full type of person, but the reality is that it is going to take a very material event for so many people to realize what’s important and that they’ve been screwed over by corporate and foreign lobbying, and brainwashed by corporate technocrats who think they can solve people’s problems by putting a gadget on their wrist or in their ear or pocket.
    The only solution to this problem has to do with educating a country’s citizens about history and the important of upholding laws. But we’re past the point of no return as those sitting on school boards, commissions, and running the teachers unions are ignorant of both.

  8. Lars says:

    As one who grew up in a society that was dominated by Social Democrats, I know that they did grow Sweden rather well in the post war era and the growth was very even. But in the middle of the 70’s, they hit a ceiling and it became harder to keep it up. Their movement also split between the young people who became radicalized by the Viet Nam war and the unions that were more interested in further economic growth. Thus, a hybrid system started to take hold, since many wanted to “pursue happiness” on their own and no longer through the “collective”. Something some economists call “a post materialistic society” was created, which means that nobody had to work for food or shelter and only for personal satisfaction. This did wonders for education and productivity and created some of the most prosperous societies. Much of this was also created in the neighboring countries.
    There is already some socialist features in the US and it is just a matter of who benefits. Crony capitalism, with its lobbying, is one such feature. It should not come as a surprise that many young people are turning away from capitalism, since they can look around themselves and see the downside of it.
    There has been a huge increase in both public and private debt in this country and it has gotten to the point of where it is impossible to pay it off. The only remedy will be to socialize (monetize)it and again, who will benefit? It will be a harsh and disagreeable process and I seriously doubt that our dysfunctional political system will be able to handle it well enough.
    In the Chinese manner, we are living in “interesting times” and they are surely going to become even more interesting.

  9. GeneO says:

    I do not favor socialism. On the other hand I do not favor Social Darwinism or ‘survival-of-the-fittest’ moral theory as it is sometimes called. And I have faith that neither do an overwhelming majority of Americans.
    Our elite seem to favor corporate socialism. Why should Archer Daniels Midland and the other agribusiness giants get subsidies from our tax money? I will gladly support farm subsidies to small farmers – although I doubt they still exist after being squeezed out by Corporate-Ag that get entitlements paid with your and my tax dollars.
    Why should Wall Street gang-banksters be able to privatize their profits yet socialize their losses and impose those losses on the rest of us? If they rate bailouts the so do Mom & Pop vacuum repair shops. ‘Too big to fail’ my a$$.
    Why should Amazon and WalMart and other 500 companies who give their employees zero benefits get supersized tax breaks not available to the rest of us? They dump their employees on the public dole, which all of us here end up paying for.
    Get rid of corporate socialism and crony capitalism! I never understood why the corporate welfare circus clowns never had to pee in a cup.

  10. Eric Newhill says:

    Outrage Beyond,
    I am always curious as to the origin of perspectives such as yours, that America and capitalism are so “pathological” and destructively crushing to the working man/woman.
    I know a lot of blue collar types. They learned a trade and/or skill. They have homes. They have new trucks. They even buy modest boats for pleasure. They occasionally go on cruises for vacation.
    Who are these people – this alleged critical mass – that are barred from enjoying a standard of living that is substantially higer than what most people in the world today – and certainly most everyone historically – ever could?
    How is hurting, say, the blue collar people I know, if someone else has a 7 figure income? Money supply is not finite, you know. New money/wealth gets created.
    In fact, many, if not most, of the champions of socialism in the US are fairly well to do. I think there is something else driving them.
    More generally, socialism is not just an economic system. It is an overarching ideological system wherein competence and achievement are disincentivized because it go against the myth of born equality. It can get you killed. That is a major source of socialism’s destructive force.

  11. Eliot says:

    “Socialists keep making the same mistakes over and over again, with the same bad results every time, justified and rationalized by the same irrational excuses.”
    Humans are prone to thinking in religious frames, and that’s just as true of the secular left as anyone. Indeed, their devotion to the one true belief rivals that of the most devout Mullah. They don’t appear to understand this though. I believe this ignorance makes them doubly dangerous, because they simply do not understand themselves, and thus do not have self control, self mastery. Compare that to a well educated theologian who would have studied the genealogy of his beliefs.
    – Eliot

  12. kapimo says:

    As far as I understand it, socialism would be a society with the rule of justice (and protection of the weaker), with therefore some common properties (infrastructures used by all). Nothing to do with the rule of law, when the law favors the strongs.
    Marx’s form of socialism (« communism » and consequent demands as expressed in the end of the second section of the « Communist Manifesto ») seems to be derived from the Bavarians illuminatis program (the same people that helped create the jacobinist club (masonist federation) during the french revolution). One critical point is « no more private ownership ».
    I believe socialism as expressed by Marx (international communism) was never actually implemented in Russia. What was implemented was a kind of communist regime under strong external constraints/threats, that rapidly fought against the internationalists (Trotskystes) and that was re-inforced by the « patriotic war » against the nazis, even though some internationalist structures managed to survive WWII.
    Similar models of wannabee communist local regimes were implemented in China, Viet-Nam, Korea, Cuba etc… Some « marxist/communist » regimes were also set-up in Eastern Europe. Most of those supposedly socialists « marxists » regimes finally disintegrated (helped by some external forces), as they for most of them failed to develop and sustain meritocracy and failed to fight corruption (and for other reasons). China regime didn’t fail, as it managed to develop meritocracy and evolved (allowing private ownership) toward (non-marxist) socialism.
    A form of real socialism as defined early (« improvement for the benefit of all » and rule of justice for most) was fascism (National-socialism), in Italy and Germany, that really fought to submit the capitalists under the power of the country rulers, country rulers who created and used financial tools to strongly develop the economy for their people (notably big infrastructures).
    As a conclusion, I would say that marxism is primarily a kind of internationalism that never was really tested. Most of the supposedly «socialist » regimes in history were effectively from the « marxist » school (abolition of private ownership, that was partially circumvented by local oligarchies/mafias), never really implemented the internationalist side of the marxist ideology, and most of them failed. National Socialist regimes that didn’t abolish private ownership (Germany, Italy, Irak, Syria, Venezuela etc…) certainly had better results and were better example of successful «Socialism». The best example of a successful socialist state was probably Thomas Sankara’s regime in Burkina-Faso.

  13. Socialists keep making the same mistakes over and over again, with the same bad results every time, justified and rationalized by the same irrational excuses.
    Actually, what is happening now in Russia could also be termed (very-very broadly) as “socialism”. But it seems many “critics” of this “socialism” fail to understand why one of the major Russian proverbs of the last few decades is: everything you (communists) told us about communism was a lie, everything you told us about capitalism was truth. And then, of course, there is this issue of war, especially WW II without which any (I underscore it–any) discussion on the issue of whatever goes in the West in general, and the United States in particular, under this moniker of “socialism” or “communism” is an absolute waste of time. For starters, the main tenet of Marxism (in reality Hegelianism) is “practice is the main criterion of the truth”, hence immortal Clausewitz’ “It is legitimate to judge event by its outcome for it is the soundest criterion”. The “left” which US have is not “socialist”–it is just another belch of neo-liberal economics aggravated with insane (and suicidal) cultural policies.

  14. turcopolier says:

    Amazon pays its employees well and provides them a lot of benefits. The protests against Amazon today are over complaints for high productivity demands by the company.

  15. turcopolier says:

    do not post coments more than once. All comments are moderated. The Nazis were not a socialist party. The title was a misnomer.

  16. Pirate Laddie says:

    Amazon’s pay scale is under some discussion. Among the benefits that many workers at Amazon “enjoy” is being eligible for public assistance and food stamps. The question before the Committee should be “what happens when the excrement falls into the fan once again?” Remember, it was the federal government and it’s related financial institutions (FED, etc) that kept the whole system from melting down, now twice in the past 25 years. Does anybody in the audience believe that things will work out “as well” next time?

  17. rjh says:

    I used to have this discussion with a history professor (an ultra academic type). He had a simple (but useless) definition:
    If the organization can trace its ancestry to the First or Second International, it’s OK to call it socialist. If not, it’s not socialist.
    By that standard NAZIs were not socialist. We would debate Mussolini’s fascists, given Mussolini’s origins and split from the Italian Socialists. The Italian Socialists were very definitely traceable to the International. It raised the interesting question of how to categorize splinter groups that diverge significantly.
    This is “useless” in that it does not consider the policies recommended or performed, but it is a very clear separator of socialist/communist from other groups. It also does categorize the Nordic countries as socialist (based on the Swedish socialist party participation in the Second International). This is despite current policies in the Nordic systems that are a combination of highly capitalist structures with a very large welfare state.

  18. Fred says:

    Waste Management, hq in Chicago, is a multibillion dollar company and there are plenty like it in the trash and recycling industry. We built private roads once upon a time and most of the railroads are public companies and not government run.

  19. Fred says:

    Swedish teens were radicalized by the Vietnam war? That’s a new one. How many refugees from the south did they take in, or did that concern have to wait for more enlightened leadership?

  20. Fred says:

    Amazon pays well and provides benefits; they just expect results.

  21. Eliot says:

    “In fact, many, if not most, of the champions of socialism in the US are fairly well to do. I think there is something else driving them.”
    I’m reminded of Patrick Lee Fermor.
    “Socialism sounded gray and without charm and Labour M.P.s conjured up visions of steelrimmed spectacles, homespun cloth, and cocoa and seed-cake and long killjoy faces bent on dismantling-what? Here an odd medley of targets would be bandied across fifth-form studies: What indeed? Why, the Empire, for a start! The Fleet! The Army! Established religion- “except Methodist chapels,”‘ Gibraltar, the Lords, judges’ wigs, kilts, bearskins, public schools, Latin and Greek, Oxford and Cambridge-“the Boat race too, most likely”; “county cricket for a cert.” – steeplechasing, shooting, fox-hunting, flat-racing, the Derby, betting, country-life, farming- (“I’d bet they’d plough up everything for swedes and beetroots if they got the chance!”) What about London? Why, the Palladium and the Aldwych would be turned into lecture halls or bloody temperance canteens.”
    – A Time of Gifts
    It seems that they always want to dismantle society, and rebuild it along authoritarian lines. I don’t know where that comes from.
    Is it ultimately about envy? And their desire to supplant the ruling class?
    I don’t know.
    – Eliot

  22. rho says:

    If you want to think about all the different concepts systematically, you have to separate the economic dimension from the political system dimension:
    Communism: Politics – Utopian classless society, no government. Economy – No private property, everything is shared, no markets, no money.
    Soviet-Union-Style “Socialism”: Politics – One-party dictatorship (possibly with a democratic facade, like in the Warsaw Pact countries). Economy – Command-and-control economy, private property, markets but with price controls.
    Sweden-Style “Socialism”: Politics – Democratic. Economy – Capitalist market economy, private property, no price controls, high taxation funding a big, redistributive welfare state.
    Nazi-Style “National Socialism”: Politics – One-party dictatorship, no elections. Economy – Capitalist market economy (at least initially), private property, gradual introduction of more and more command-and-control elements, especially once war preparations started and in connection with rationing of goods.
    One big problem in transitioning from the Soviet “Dictatorship-of-the-Proletariat-variety-Socialism” to Communism, as Marx had theorized about it, is obviously that the ruling class itself in Socialism is not very much interested in giving up its grasp on government power, especially not if it rules effectively unopposed in an authoritarian dictatorship. There is also quite a lot of resistance from the general population in giving up the concept of private property completely.
    Now, are AOC and her gang proper “Socialists”, and if yes, in what exact meaning of the term?
    Politics – Democratic, for now (?). But they are already at the point where they denounce everyone who disagrees with their agenda as “nazis” (Trump) or “white supremacists” (Pelosi), which indicates quite an authoritatian streak and shows me that they are not interested in making compromises with other political factions, but that is something that is absolutely necessary in a democratic political system. Quite possible that they would want to abolish democracy (of course, they would frame it as fighting those evil nazis and white supremacists) if they ever get into power.
    Economics – In my opinion, just an incoherent mess. The “Green New Deal” is an extensive wishlist that includes many extremely expensive projects (free healthcare, free college, 100% renewable power generation, while still being “affordable”, upgrading every existing building in the USA to the highest energy saving standard within the next 10 years, “eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, industry, manufacturing and agriculture as much as is technologically feasible”) that could realistically only be funded with massive tax increases and even then they might be impossible to achieve unless a command-and-control system is imposed on the economy (e.g. “Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States” – And from where do you get the tens of millions of extra construction workers that would be required to renovate every existing building in the USA in the next 10 years?). No details on cost in the plan, the idea seems to be that the project could somehow pay for itself or that the government could print as much money as required – which would lead to hyperinflation. At least that implies no plans to abolish money itself or the concepts of private property and the market economy per se.
    My take is that the AOC gang is so radical and at the same time so inept, that they might end up damaging democracy and the economy at the same time if their harebrained scheme is put into effect.

  23. rho says:

    what exactly happens in Sweden if you are able, yet “unwilling”, to work? Does the state leave you alone while continuing to pay welfare to you? Or do they start to send social workers to you in an effort to re-educate you?
    “There has been a huge increase in both public and private debt in this country and it has gotten to the point of where it is impossible to pay it off. The only remedy will be to socialize (monetize)it and again, who will benefit? ”
    Not quite. You could also get rid of the debts through the bankruptcy proces. Still harsh and disagreeable, but an entirely different mechanism from bailouts or monetisation via inflation.

  24. rho says:

    “In the US, Medicare and Medicaid are generally considered to be good things, and it puzzles me that so many are vehemently against extending public medical care to the entire population.”
    Getting seemingly free stuff always sounds nice. How are you going to cover the trillions of $ that it will cost to pay for it? Do you want to use rationing to keep the costs under control, kind of like in UK, where you might have to wait for months or years until you get a slot for an operation at a government-funded NHS hospital?
    It’s feasible to organise the system this way, but you have to be honest enough to mention it when you propose the “free stuff” and what consequences it has to tax rates or to the healthcare system itself.

  25. Godfree Roberts says:

    Confucian socialism was well established 2200 years ago:
    Now to have states, families, and selves is to allow each individual to maintain a sphere of selfishness. This infracts utterly the Universal Principle, gongli, and impedes progress..Therefore, not only should states be abolished–so that there would be no more struggle between the strong and the weak–but families should be done away with, too, so that there would no longer be inequality of love and affection among men. Finally, selfishness itself should be banished, so that goods and services would not be used for private ends..for the only true way is sharing the world by all alike, tienxia weigong. To share everything is to treat each and every one alike: there should be no distinction between high and low, no discrepancy between rich and poor, no segregation of human races, no inequality between sexes..All should be educated and supported with the common property; none should depend on private possession..This is the way of the Great Community, dàtóng, which prevailed in the Age of Universal Peace.

  26. Lars says:

    In the 70’s, there was quite a bit of radicalization of many youths and several got enamored with Marxist-Leninism. The Viet Nam war was a focus point for that.
    In the meantime, Sweden encouraged immigration from the south to fill jobs. That started in the 50’s and continued into the 90’s. The xenophobic backlash came much later and has poisoned politics.

  27. Fred says:

    I think the other factor is how the government expects all the medical care providers to accept the Medicare reimbursement rates.

  28. Fred says:

    Pirate, where is that statement true? It is usually the anti-Wal-Mart talking point.

  29. srw says:

    Socialism = Communism? Both espouse government control of production. What should not be equated is socialism to the welfare state. All modern governments to some degree have social safety nets put in place after the industrial revolution transformed society from a largely agricultural one with church/gentry based welfare to a city based/industrial worker society with local governments (and churches) picking up welfare for those in need. Conservatives have equated FDR and Social Security, LBJ and Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), farm support programs, etc. etc. with socialism. I don’t think too many people want to go to a total libertarian government that gets rid of these programs. My conservative Marine LTC son-in-law spent three years in Stuttgart Germany. He was impressed with the benefits Germans get from their taxes and I have never heard/read of any German going bankrupt paying for medical care. We should get off the “socialist demagoguing” and just have a conversation on how much of a social safety net we want and how to pay for it.

  30. Nancy K says:

    Socialism is to Communism as Feudalism is to Capitalism. Most US citizens enjoy the benefits of some degree of socialism, ex. Medicare, Social Security, in some sense the military. Whereas most of us agree that Capitalism when not in the extreme is also very good for society. I believe when everything becomes owned by all or everything is owned by only a few than society as a whole suffers.
    I realize this is all stated in a very simplistic way but it makes my point.

  31. Eric Newhill says:

    I can understand true serfs in a hard core feudal system being attracted to socialism. I think it’s the wrong answer, but I can understand the attraction to it.
    But in our society? We have 1st generation immigrants becoming techie $millionaires and congress people. Same people want to be socialists. Seems like it’s all about looking over your neighbor’s fence, envy and some other mean spirited attitudes. Everyone who has more than you do got it through cheating, exploiting, stealing. Therefore, you’re justified in taking from the subhuman anti-social beasts.
    IMO, many self-unaware people are driven by their demons (and too few by their angels). Then they build up complex intellectual systems to disguise what’s really motivating them. That is what socialism looks like to me. Communism is just a more starry eyed version of the same. These people deny their own nature and seek to implement a system that makes everyone else deny their nature’s too.

  32. rho says:

    Be careful what you wish for. That’s not a quote by Confucius, it’s out of the 20th century book “Da Tong shu” by Kang Youwei, some kind of eugenicist proto-communist, even according to the generally left-wing Wikipedia:
    Kang proposed a utopian future world free of political boundaries and democratically ruled by one central government. In his scheme, the world would be split into rectangular administrative districts, which would be self-governing under a direct democracy but loyal to a central world government.
    There would also be the dissolution of racial boundaries. Kang outlines an immensely ambitious eugenics program that would eliminate the “brown and black” racial phenotype after a millennia and lead to the emergence of a fair-skinned homogeneous human race whose members would “be the same color, the same appearance, the same size, and the same intelligence”.
    No wonder Mao loved to quote that guy.

  33. Ed Walsh says:

    Why do the heathen rage? Why bring up this vacuous non-issue as though it is worthy of discussion? (BTW many of the comments thus far submitted and thoughtful and worthwhile. But why allow ourselves to get sucked into a fatuous discussion?)
    As always the terminology serves mostly to confuse and misdirect us. Let’s drop the economic theory.
    If there is any evolving reality here, it concerns the proper area of personal sovereignty versus what should be voluntary concern for our fellow: (citizen, human, family member). Those of us in the personal sovereignty club stand crowded into the tiniest corner of a massive playing field. We have been losing ground and defending smaller and smaller areas for at least my entire life.
    Right now, all our defensive positions have been captured, all our flags are in enemy hands. Anyone urging us to take our place on the battle line are just inviting us to fight in someone else’s war, for someone else’s objectives.
    The greatest treachery we have suffered is the substitution of someone else’s idea of who is my neighbor, or my brother. They surely don’t want me to make a free decision in this area.
    This is a non-issue until everything falls apart. Then some players will want to take the field for another go round. Until then, what’s the point?
    Why do they bring this up? Why do the heathen rage?

  34. Lesly says:

    Socialism and communism mean nothing thanks to the American rightwing generously employing them as interchangeable slurs to score political points. I didn’t bother reading Marx in high school but I remember discussing NAFTA (a treaty I opposed then and now) in a college economics classroom with a farmer’s son who refused to acknowledge that agricultural subsidies is welfare for business because… his father fed people. Food stamps used to buy his father’s food were another matter.
    The last time we spoke w/our money manager he told us medical care inflation was higher than the overall rate and was expected to continue climbing. We’re not millionaires but we’re hardly poor. Still I feel we’re not prepared for retirement and I don’t believe people less fortunate or skilled than us should have to work until they drop dead in a first world country.
    So yes I’ll support socialist policies like expanding Medicare for all. Anyone can call me a communist for it if they like. My father does because I support Bernie. He didn’t plan his life like I did but feels entitled to schedule “free” health care appointments and receive “free” surgery/rehabilitation because he supports Trump. Cognitive dissonance is a helluva drug.

  35. Andrei, one thing that impressed me about the Soviet Union was their treatment of traditional indigenous cultures of northern Siberia. These usually nomadic people, organized as bands and tribes, were probably the closest thing to communist society that ever existed under the CPSU. These circumpolar peoples were allowed to continue their political and economic structures while being more or less integrated into the Soviet Union. Whether this was a case of benign neglect or a conscious acknowledgement that these people were close to the ideal of communist society, I don’t know. As an anthropologist, I see these band and tribal societies as close to a pure form of socialist society, predating capitalism and big C Communism by thousands of years.

  36. Barbara Ann says:

    The key to understanding what drives these people lies in the fact that their world view is fundamentally utopian and therefore at odds with reality. They see inequality as anathema – an unnatural wrong to be rectified wherever it is found. Rather than striving to make the best of the world as it is, socialists seek to configure a world where striving itself ultimately becomes unnecessary.
    Socialism is also a profoundly anti-individualist outlook requiring a very significant role for the state in our lives. It is hence at odds with traditional American values which require a non-invasive state. Trump tweeted something along these lines earlier today in fact. And as for socialism’s proponents, it is natural that people from comfortable backgrounds, well insulated from the harsh realities of life, are most susceptible to a belief system which willfully ignores those realities.

  37. Barbara Ann says:

    Patrick Lee Fermor – very good.
    Envy yes, but I think this in turn often stems from rootless insecurity, fear caused by feelings of inadequate self-sufficiency (of all kinds) and a resentment of those more at home in their culture and the world.

  38. GeneO says:

    Fred –
    Even Tucker C on Fox supports Bernie Sanders’s proposed “Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies (Stop BEZOS) Act”.
    The benefits you claim are for 40 hour/week full-timers. Most of their warehouse workers are part timers. And they are scamming employees by dumping them into a “self-employed independent contractor” role. I’ve been a contractor myself (construction) and it worked out well for me. But for a warehouse worker or a delivery person who are bound by Amazon’s control of the details of how the work is to be performed? That is BS and patently illegal. If I had done that with my workers I’d have faced huge tax penalties. But Bezos has the bucks to get lawyers to weasel-word and blur the reality.
    It is why Bezos bought the Washington Post, so he could stop their investigative reporting on his buccaneer employment practices.
    And by the way, Amazon pays no income tax yet gets millions in State and Local subsidies – about 2.4 Billion dollars worth.

  39. ambrit says:

    At least in the socialized medical systems, one gets a good chance of obtaining care. In a purely ‘private’ system, the poor and disadvantaged are left to their own devices, ie. they get to go die when they could have lived. If you prefer to live in such a “red in fang and claw” system, go to it. I prefer the other.
    At it’s root, this subject is related to the question of the distribution of resources. To that end, I’ll ask; “How much is enough?”
    About the ‘paying’ for an American National Health scheme; have you never heard of the MMT? Taxes do not pay for anything at the national level. They are basically a means of carrying out social policy.

  40. ambrit says:

    Sorry Fred, but Amazon is reinventing the sweatshop.
    Something pertinent:

  41. ambrit says:

    A quibble if I may.
    There is a distinct difference between “full time” employees and “part time” employees. Having done a stint on the retail floor and back rooms of a ‘modern’ retail company, I can attest to the local management being admonished by ‘corporate’ to keep as many employees below the ‘full time’ employment status threshold as possible. Where I worked, the only ‘full time’ employees were upper and middle management. They were all on salary and required to work at least fifty five and more hours a week for that salary. (This was laid out in black and white in their ‘Employee Manual’ which I got to read one afternoon.) Stress related ‘burn out’ was a constant with them. The rest of us had to settle for between fifteen and twenty five hours of work a week. Our schedules were changed every week, so, very few could schedule a second job, unless it was an overnight shift position.
    The company of which I speak had been ‘acquired’ by a consortium of investors and the company management turned over to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
    Anyway, the days of Mom and Pop businesses are passing. The New Robber Barons are taking over.

  42. semiconscious says:

    i’d guess that ‘corporate socialism’ ranks at least at #3 on mainstream media’s top 10 ‘subjects never to be mentioned’ list…

  43. Error404 says:

    I guess you haven’t read the Fed’s 2018 survey of household economic well-being which, among other conclusions, determined that 40% of Americans would struggle to cover an unexpected $400 expense?

  44. Error404 says:

    The comments here are on the whole erudite and well-argued by people who have thought about the issue, but I think many get lost in the intellectual quagmire surrounding the definition and application of doctrinal labels. After all, one man’s social democrat is another man’s communist, just as surely as one man’s terrorist is…..etc., etc.
    By arguing theory and labels we risk overlooking the key question: What type of society do we want to live in? I’m a centre-right European boomer, and these are my high-level preferences:
    1/ I want to see a social safety net beneath those who, for whatever reason, need help to meet the basic requirements of life in today’s economy.
    I do not want to live in the type of winner-takes-all society that appeals to so many in the US. Regretably, the postwar welfare state in Europe has been hijacked in many countries and become a benefits boondoggle. The balance I personally prefer is rarely found.
    2/ I want equality of opportunity, and to help on the way to securing this I believe in free healthcare and education (up to tertiary level).
    Regretably, the right insists on forcing the ‘market’ (rarely a true free market) into health and education where it does not belong, whilst the left falsely equates equality of opportunity with equality of outcome.
    3/ Other than in sectors basic to human well-being (such as health and education) and sectors where market failure is likely (such as many aspects of basic infrastructure provision), I want free-market capitalism to be allowed to work its magic.
    Regretably, the right perverts price discovery with neoliberal crony-ism and too many on the left still hanker after state control over the ‘commanding heights’.
    So, two final questions:
    1/ Am I communist, socialist, social-democrat, capitalist…or what? And does it matter? To many of my ex-university friends I’m well to the right, but quite a few reading this in the US will be thinking something along the lines of ‘commie b*****d’.
    2/ Given that I’m dissatisfied with what both the traditional right and left have to offer, is it any wonder that I’m among the “surprising number” of regular readers of this excellent site who hanker for change?
    AOC and her crew are surely anathema to many, I understand, but perhaps their current profile should be seized as an opportunity to question just what sort of society you guys want your children to live in – without worrying too much about labels such as ‘socialist’, ‘communist’, et al. After all, if you risk ending up with a President Bezos or Zuckerburg, it might be worth considering a few alternative approaches now while you still have the chance.

  45. turcopolier says:

    Error 404
    The 40% do not lack money. they simply do not save at all. They have a higher life style than is justified by their income. I know many such.

  46. turcopolier says:

    Error 404
    You exagerate the “winner take all” character of American society. Your statement ignores such things as Social Security, Medicaid and the state equivalents, federal law that requires hospitals to treat the indigent starting at the emergency room, Food Stamps, etc. Perhaps you should contemplate this

  47. Walrus says:

    There is much confusion here and elsewhere in the media about “socialism” – a catch all term to which most Americans (but not the discerning members of SST) have been trained to growl at like Pavlovs dogs.
    There are a number of issues, all deliberately confused by interested parties; Economic reform, including free markets; Social reform, including education and health; and political reform including the power of money in politics. AOC and her well meaning colleagues conflate all of these issues and the resulting mess is seized upon by the usual suspects who then brand any and every effort to reform as “Socialism” and predict that doing anything other than the status quo puts us on the slippery slope to communism.
    A few comments:
    when Big Capital is threatened with tax increases, that’s “socialism”. Yet when Big Capital goes cap in hand to the Federal Government for a bail out, like the financial sector did, well, that’s not really socialism for reasons that escape me.
    Big Capital also screams “free markets”, while doing everything in its power to destroy the same – as we were all taught in business school so to do. In this, they are aided and abetted by their paid for friends in congress.
    Health care, apart from some boob jobs and cosmetic dentistry is NOT a free market, therefore Government regulation of the same, including single payer universal healthcare is perfectly reasonable, and works just fine in many countries. The American healthcare lobbies, including the AMA, have done a magnificent job of convincing the average american that anything other than the disgrace they now put up with is not only impossible, but it’s Communism even to think otherwise.
    I could go on. The best way to look at it is that there are tremendous opportunities to improve Americas quality of life, and economy, and international reputation if the country doesn’t implode first.

  48. Fred says:

    Charlie Gard would disagree.

  49. Fred says:

    After the communist North conquest of the Republic of Vietnam Sweden allow less than 5,000 refugee families into the country. You left out the current leftist government’s immigration policy as the cause of what you label “xenophobia”.

  50. Eric Newhill says:

    Define “struggle”. I don’t like to shell out $400 for an unpleasant surprise either. Polls are deceptive. Denotation and connotation are important.

  51. TTG, there was one, however, important feature of those peoples (such as Koryaks in Kamchatka) which USSR absolutely didn’t tolerate. In some those Northern nomadic, deer-herding, cultures incest, especially fathers sleeping with daughters was a “normal”. The State usually removed young girls into boarding schools and then gave them education through the indigenous peoples’ programs. I know this for a fact, because my mother taught in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Pedagogical College and one of her classes was only Koryak girls. In some sense, one may view those tribes as a sort of “communist” organization but, of course, what went under the moniker “communism” in USSR was a concept of a profoundly modern industrialist (hi-tech by today’s lingo) society. Yet, what is always missed about this whole thing is the fact that since 1930s USSR was becoming increasingly (and inevitably) culturally conservative society. Stalin is on record in early 1950s with his famous “we need new theory”. In the West Soviet “communism” (or “socialism”) is, often deliberately, combined with Western (primarily Frankfurt School abomination) “version” of it, forgetting, of course, that most of those Western “communists” would have been put squarely behind bars or placed into mental institutions as renegades. This major difference somehow escaped Western thought, which mostly deals with “socialists” many of who, for all intents and purposes, are “progressiveLY” mental, such as Washington States Governor Inslee promising, if he becomes POTUS (good grief!!) he would make this militant flaming (and utterly insane) lesbo Rapinoe from US Women’s National Soccer Team his Secretary of the State. A complete madness.

  52. Fred says:

    Everyone employed by Amazon is not a warehouse laborer nor are they bound in indentured servitude. “Control of the details of how the work is to be performed” is what every employer does.

  53. Terry says:

    And many people choose their political stance based on whether they see their fellow citizens as members of their tribe or members of an enemy tribe.

  54. Terry says:

    There are small town factories where workers are paid less now than 40 years ago and medical benefits are less and more expensive. The capitalist grind toward ever greater profit has affected small towns and rural areas hard, affecting around 60 million people.
    It is a slow process but unrestricted capitalism leads back to feudalism and slavery.

  55. upstater says:

    Socialism is necessary, particularly for care of the disabled and elderly. With respect to a social safety net consider the following example within my family:
    I have a very intelligent son that graduated with a degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics. But he has schizophrenia, which manifested itself almost 10 years ago in his first year at university.
    We have run the gauntlet with the provision of mental health services. And while it is true hospitals will admit a psychotic person, the treatment provided for mental illness when contrasted with “physical” illness or injury is striking. Let it suffice to say, mental health care is abysmal and if our son didn’t have a VERY active family assisting in his care, I have no doubt whatsoever that he’d have fallen through the cracks. There is a VERY good reason why 50% of prison inmates have diagnosable mental illness — it is because comprehensive care is NOT provided and such people are considered as disposable.
    Our son volunteers part-time in a university lab as a technician. He is disabled and collects about $600/mo SSDI and has Medicare for insurance. It is doubtful that he’ll ever be able to hold a regular job, but we’re hopeful. If we did not provide housing, support and transportation, I cannot conceive how he’d manage. Care management for such people is horrendous, even in a place like New York State — elsewhere is far worse.
    I should also note he attended university in Ontario. The provision of his medical care was both seamless and with only nominal costs. He saw psychiatrists bi-weekly. Here in the US, his medication, even with Medicare Part D, costs thousands per year. Basically his SSDI stipend goes entirely to medical care. We have found the waiting times in the US for psychiatric care are measured in months.
    With all due respect, Colonel, the social safety net looks fantastic on paper. But 10 years of painful experience has proven that if you rely on the social safety net, you’d better be ready to listen to splat. We have seen this happen again and again in clinics and support groups we have attended.
    The state should control the means of production in medical care, end-to-end — it should be entirely free at the point of service. The parasitic grifters that are attached to the healthcare system should be eliminated. We pay double per capita for healthcare compared to OECD countries and have the poorest OECD outcomes. The numbers don’t lie.

  56. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    All those so joyfully endorsing ANY sort of communism should read the Black Book of Communism. It makes Hitler look like a bloody amateur.
    Pun intended.

  57. Eric Newhill says:

    Last year I sat down and calculated what I pay in total taxes/forced govt income and wealth confiscation. This is everything from sales tax, to property tax, to vehicle associated taxes and fees, to state and federal income tax.
    I live in NY, a very democrat state and therefore a very high tax rate state.
    Turns out I pay around 30% of my annual income in annual taxes now that I’m out of the horse racing biz (lost the associated write-offs and breaks). I’m a lower end of 6 figures income guy.
    How much more “socialism” can someone like me handle? Seriously, if democrats get elected and achieve their expensive policy goals, I’m going to cash out my 401K and retire. I passed the 55 years old no 041K withdrawal penalty point fairly recently. There’s no point in working if the govt is going to confiscate a greater portion of my earnings. If it happens, hope it’s one of those dems that wants to provide the basic income. I don’t owe a dime to anyone right now. No loans to worry about. I’ll sit on my porch, enjoy my fav bourbon, pick guitar and do some under the table side jobs here and there for a little extra pocket money and to cover property taxes until my wife and I are eligible for Social Security. I like working with my hands.
    I think a lot of people like me, who actually pay into the tax system, with no returns on tax day, feel the same. In the meanwhile, I’m in the process of selling and moving to AZ, where the taxes and cost of living are much lower. Since I work primarily from home now, I can do that. The work from home trend, as well as the fleeing of democrat/high tax states is also increasingly common among my class of worker. I note that a lot of blue collar folks I know work under the table/off the books whenever possible.
    I mention all of this because I think it illustrates another reason that socialism is ultimately going to have to rely on totalitarian force. If there’s a way for people to keep their hard earned money, they’ll find it. The state must then up the penalties and close all loop holes and impose increasingly draconian laws (can’t leave NY on pain of arrest without paying an exorbitant exit fee? – under the table workers will be shot?). If the taxes are too high and there are lots of freebees, people will stop working, unless forced to work. Those most able to stop working are those with the most experience and knowledge, experience and knowledge that normally would be guiding the new workers. That lost experience is a big hit to productivity.

  58. Terry says:

    The socialism/capitalism discussion is a reflection of the people, their norms, and morals i.e. society that they take place in.
    The tribal models might be a good start. In a tribal model capitalism is the hunter. No committee controls the hunters or dictates where they hunt. Successful hunters are praised and rewarded with social status, and the hunters gift food to others. It is an obvious mutually beneficial transaction. An injured hunter will need care from others, a hunter far from home might need food, assistance, or shelter, and also the hunter values the protection of the group from other tribes. In a conflict with another tribe it might be better for survival to be someone valued that a stingy, useless bastard. Gifting was an important part of this system as would be traditions of hosting guests and honorable behavior. Someone off hunting would rely on honorable treatment of their possessions by other members of the tribe.
    In that model it isn’t enough to have a pile of game to get public accolade and social status but rather the willingness to share and serve the tribe. Unfortunately in the society we currently live in traditional and honorable behavior is in fast decline while greed and selfishness are worshiped. Just having a pile of money is enough to gain status and influence.
    Our democratic institutions and republic depend on a supply of honorable men and women entering into service. Thus, some uses their skills to become successful, they share their bounty with the community, they do so to gain reputation and social status, they use that status to serve their people to the people’s benefit, they use power wisely, they respect their opponents and deal fairly in politics.
    On a psychological level I’ve been doing some interesting research into children around power seeking behaviors and there relationship to feeling capable. Controlling, manipulative, demanding behavior arises from not feeling capable. Seeking power and abuse of power originates in that lack of a personal sense of capability in the world. It explains a lot in that in our wealthy society too many have had everything handed to them since birth and some of them eventually a lot of real world power and a sense of privilege but never developing a sense of their own abilities. More and more these are the people running our institutions and politics.
    Long story short – Capitalism is best way to advance human civilization but only if it is based on capable and honorable people.. Rural and poorer societies are more likely to produce such people and wealthy societies more inclined to producing people that are neither honorable or capable. If a wealthy people wants to continue their civilization they are going to have to find a way to produce capable, honorable people reliably and in sufficient numbers and also to screen out the greedy, amoral, and dishonorable from public service and roles of power.
    I’ve also thought the best way to do this would be to have all children around age 10 go to traditionally run farms/schools to learn real world skills, hard work, an appreciation for nature, and discipline.,,, but that is a pipe dream. Most likely is that the cycle of rise and fall of nations continues until humankind itself is modified through technology into something else.

  59. Peter C says:

    Please don’t put words in my mouth – I didn’t propose any “free stuff”. Covering the cost would be straightforward if military expenditures could be brought down to a sane level.

  60. Peter C says:

    In Canada students are falling over each other to get into medical schools so they can be allowed to accept government reimbursement rates. The big losers in the US would be the insurance companies and the superfluous beaurocrats that present a huge unnecessary cost to the system, but I have no sympathy for them.
    In the end it would be cheaper to pay for health care through taxes, but non-medical personnel who profit from the current setup would prefer for Americans not to understand that.

  61. Eric Newhill says:

    It is well recognize in economics that there are market failures in capitalism. These are actual well studied and well defined situations; not situations that in your opinion are unlikable or unfair. It is further recognized by most economists that when there is a true market failure, the govt should step in, as gently as possible, and do something about it.
    In the case of Medicare, there is a specific market failure usually called “Markets failing to form”. Insurance carriers will not offer healthcare insurance to seniors because they know that seniors are going to use that insurance a lot and be very costly because they are seniors. That’s when expensive healthcare issues are a certainty for most people. If the insurance was priced at an actuarially fair price, the vast majority of seniors couldn’t afford it. Hence Medicare.
    Social security is similar in that there is not a viable labor market for the employment of seniors for various reasons.
    Subsidizing farmers is more a matter of national security, but there are market failures there too. In order to ensure a continued and sufficient supply of food for the nation, the govt must take measures to keep the farmers going and going with the right crops. Farming is an incredibly capricious endeavor. The farmer is at the mercy of the elements. It is very hard work and increasingly expensive due to the cost of machinery and tech involved. The urge to find another way to make a living is always strong amongst farmers and, especially, their offspring who would be the next generation of farmers.
    The problem with the social justice socialists is that they are not addressing market failures in the true economics sense. They want to throw money at people that are young, healthy and perfectly capable of working, but are not – or are not at a compensation level that permits a comfortable lifestyle.
    Worse, the SJW socialists create the very conditions that lead to people not being able to make it on their own; for example telling women that having children out of wedlock is perfectly fine – even rewarding it with welfare, free housing, etc. – or importing a gazillion immigrants, legal and illegal to do the jobs that lower IQ/lower skilled Americans used to work. Actually, H1Bs are taking jobs that higher IQ/higher skilled Americans used to do. Or encouraging the young to waste time obtaining expensive degrees in women’s studies, etc.
    There are very real free market solutions for this cohort. Just for a few examples; decrease the available labor pool such that demand (and wages) increase (i.e. decrease immigration). Don’t send blue collar jobs overseas. Establish trade schools as opposed to college. Tech schools (learn to code – so many H1Bs taking those good jobs). Generally improve the K-12 school system by giving citizens more control over what is taught (gear the curriculum to prepare for the available jobs). Lower taxes and decrease the insane tangle of regulations so companies don’t go overseas. Trump is well along he right path in all of this.
    With regards to non-senior healthcare, costs are increasing because Americans get the best and most and the newest tech. They demand it. That all costs money. They pay it, which incentivizes the development of more tech and the ability and demand to treat more people, more intensely, for more medical conditions. The only way around it is rationing, like in the socialized system (please don’t quote that those systems get more bang for the buck because WHO says so. Those are bogus statistics based on social justice measures as opposed to actual health outcomes. Look it up). I have professionally studied healthcare cost drivers for about 20 years. I know that’s what it’s all about. Every time we seek to significantly cut costs by rationing (e.g. deny services with low marginal benefit, but high marginal cost increase) the public, media, AMA goes berserk. Insurance is killing people by denying needed care!!!!! American pharma companies give drugs for free to Africa and other impoverished lands and make up the difference in the American market. Americans object (ironically, many protesters are the socialists that want to help the third worlders). It’s a complicated topic and most people talking about are woefully uninformed; especially Bernie.

  62. GeneO says:

    Fred –
    “…is what every employer does.”.
    I always tried to give my tiny group of employees goal oriented instructions and give them autonomy in how to achieve that goal. That was the same system I had learned from a damned good commanding officer I had served under. It mostly worked. There were always the 10% that needed more specifics, but those were typically newbies not yet familiar with their trade and their tools. They eventually got the message from their co-workers, or decided to look for employment elsewhere.
    That same concept works in multi-billion companies. Except for perhaps places like fast-food burger joints that hire teenagers, and typically control every specific task and sub-task.

  63. Jack says:

    When discussing socialism and capitalism it is easy to focus on utopian ideology while reality is never given sufficient consideration.
    IMO, both socialism and capitalism tends towards concentration. One leads to rule by a politburo as assets get owned by the state and the other leads to an oligarchy with a symbiotic relationship between big business and big government. In China for example CCP politburo member and head of domestic security Zhou Yongkang was reportedly worth $30 billion when Xi ousted him in his purge of competitors before becoming President for Life. Here in the US under the rhetoric of free markets we’ve had immense concentration of market power over the past 50 years that has lead to the largest wealth inequality in a century. Jonathan Tepper from Wall St research firm Variant Perception has written a data driven book “The Myth of Capitalism”, that shows the extent of concentration across sectors from airlines to healthcare, media, agriculture and defense. Then when we consider the $25 trillion bailout of Wall St speculative losses which was socialism for the oligarchy it is,always rationalized as an “emergency”. With the bottom 50% owning 1% of financial assets and the financialization of the economy over the past 50 years backed by government driving wealth inequality it is natural that those who were deliberately sacrificed by policy that favored the oligarchy will question the current framework. There was a reason why anti-trust, securities and transparency laws were enacted. It is imperative for free markets that there’s competitive markets and failure. When there’s regulatory capture we get more oligarchy and socialism for the 1%.

  64. GeneO says:

    Semiconscious –
    More like #1. They don’t want to upset their own corporate management.

  65. Eric Newhill says:

    First, my sympathies. Schizophrenia is a terrible mental disease. You watch a loved one die in mind, but there is a still a body walking around, often causing trouble, that continually reminds you of what once was. I know. I have a younger brother that is a chronic paranoid schizophrenic. He’s 50 now, but was also diagnosed in his first year of college. My mother had died shortly before that and my father would have nothing to do with him. As a young man in my mid 20s I became his caregiver. It changed my life and career path and a lot of other things.
    That said, your story doesn’t correlate with mine.
    First, My understanding is that the Canadian system covers neither drugs nor mental health services. I have had that confirmed by people that work in the system. I understand that some provinces have limited waivers and some other programs, but, generally, I is as I said.
    Second, my brother lives in AZ (where I used to live). Yes, it was very challenging getting him legally petitioned into care when he was proving to be a danger to himself and others. AZ finally changed the law to include an “acutely and persistently disabled” category and that did the trick. It was challenging to get him to take his meds the first few years (he’s been on the program and stable now for 20 years, though still 100% disabled). I bought him a small house that he still lives in free and clear. Otherwise, all of his medication and other treatment – that’s for the schizophrenia and for general medical services – has been totally covered by the state. And this is AZ; notoriously low funded for indigent healthcare.
    In the early phase of my care taking of my brother people told me to let it go and live my own life. Well I couldn’t do that. I don’t regret the decisions I made one bit. I don’t regret buying the little house that has done so well for him. That’s what family is for. Do you want gov’t to take over for family?

  66. upstater says:

    Eric, the university had a supplemental drug plan that cost $200 per year. Most Canadians have such drug plans. My son’s Medicare D more expensive and covers far less.
    Mental health is covered by the provincial plans; talk therapy is not in provincial plans.
    I agree families should be involved in provision of care to the mentally ill. But as we know the task can be daunting, particularly with a floridly psychotic person. Some families are simply overwhelmed with the task and people are cast out on the streets, with unfortunate and predictable consequences. Where would your brother be without your personal sacrifice? Treatment is cheaper than jails. I’m not suggesting the state do 100%, but I won’t live forever and there isn’t any family member to pick it up when we’re gone.
    We utterly fail at providing comprehensive psychiatric care. It is a financial loser for hospitals and psychiatrists are among the lowest paid MDs. The free market has failed to respond to a basic human need. Only socialism came fix this problem.

  67. Barbara Ann says:

    Ed Walsh
    This is thankfully one of the very few places remaining mostly free of “heathen rage”. The headline topic may be a misdirection, but the Committee has largely picked up on this and as you have observed much thoughtful commentary has ensued.
    If I understand you correctly I share that tiny corner. Personal sovereignty is paramount for me. In TTG’s recent confessional post, I argued that the right place for social justice is the individual’s conscience. Those who seek to coerce our consciences will not stop there and if these same people advocate “socialist” policies I see this merely as coercion dressed up in a different garb. Far too few recognize this.
    I have no intention of submitting to anyone else’s idea of who I should choose as my neighbor or my brother. However, if war comes and I am forced to, I will choose the side I think most likely to guarantee my right to personal sovereignty. I doubt I’ll be fighting alongside the Social Justice Warriors.

  68. turcopolier says:

    Barbara Ann
    Hey! Whoa! My title was intended to cause the hard left to identify themselves for elimination and that worked.

  69. Eric Newhill says:

    I hear you and understand, but here’s the thing, mental health are just tough for everyone involved. In 2012 my son, who was an Army officer, suffered a head wound in Afghanistan. He’s designated 100% disabled. He can walk around and look normal, but he sure doesn’t think normal. He’s a disaster or crime waiting to happen (see Phineas Gage). Being service connected, he gets full VA care for that and related issues. Fully socialized. Yet I don’t see where his care/outcome is any better or worse than my brother’s and the other living/care giving, etc issues are the same.
    Again, heart felt sympathy to you from me. Just not seeing how socialized medicine would make a difference in your son’s case.

  70. blue peacock says:

    Spot on! The tendency for concentration exists in both ideologies. Tepper’s book is an eye-opener on the degree of concentration since the 80s. The issues with concentration including the capture of the political system should be of serious concern to anyone who wants a functioning market system. Indeed with the rhetoric of free markets and free trade both parties essentially sold out the working class to Wall St & corporate financial interests. That has led to the dismantling of the US industrial base, growth in systemic leverage and the financing of our biggest strategic competitor – China. This article on the national security threat of market concentration in the defense industry is well worth a read.
    You are correct that Robinson-Patman, the creation of the SEC & FTC were all designed to make sure we had a competitive marketplace. Now we spend trillions in corporate welfare but spending any money that benefits the bottom 50% immediately brings up charges of socialism. Not to mention the added barriers like a complex tax code that put small businesses at a distinct disadvantage to the big corporations who have all the loopholes to not pay any tax. History shows that whenever wealth inequality becomes extreme there is always a reaction as demagogues take advantage.
    “The economy is there to serve the fundamental needs of society, which are prosperity, stability and contentment… If you have a situation whereby the economy grows but you create poverty and unemployment and you destabilise society, you’re in trouble.” – Sir James Goldsmith
    This interview of James Goldsmith and his debate with Laura Tyson, Clinton’s Trade Representative is still so important as it shows how the propaganda of free trade & free markets is used to obfuscate the real agenda of concentration. If one believes in liberty then concentration either in the form of direct state control or control by a small minority of ostensibly capitalists in cahoots with the political elite amounts to pretty much the same thing.

  71. Barbara Ann says:

    I have to pity those unfortunate enough to have found themselves at war with you Colonel.

  72. turcopolier says:

    Barbara Ann
    Sometimes you eat the bear. Sometimes the bear eats you.

  73. EVERY large multi-ethnic multi-confessional country that has adopted socialism has adopted a form of Stalinism.
    What is “Stalinism”? What are its defining features?

  74. Fred says:

    Peter C,
    You haven’t looked into US medicare reimbursement rates. Canada should feel free to open her borders to victims of the American medical system and pick up the tab to boot.

  75. rho says:

    Peter C,
    “Covering the cost would be straightforward if military expenditures could be brought down to a sane level.”
    No. You are engaging in wishful thinking here. Total US military expenditure is 693 billion $ per year. Total US population is about 330 million. Even if you would eliminate military spending completely (!), you would free up only a little bit more than 2000 $ per person per year. That’s not even remotely sufficient to fund “free” healthcare and “free” college for everybody.

  76. John Minehan says:

    Well, the freight lines are private. Passenger rail is largely nationalized under AmTrak.
    Prior to the 1980s, you really could say we were moving towards a “mixed economy” here, but we have largely reversed course since. More “socialized” things like AmTrak are hard to get rid of, but the general trend is away from things like that.
    The “Great Recession” brought some of that back (the bank bail-outs and the Forc & Chrysler bail-outs) but I think people get the fact that those things are not really workable.
    As Heinlein and Milton Friedman both said, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

  77. John Minehan says:

    Would they be offering the Medicare rates or would it wind up being more like the Medicaid fee schedule in practice?
    Twenty years ago, Medicare was cash-flow for the average practice, the rates were low but payment was net 45 days on a “clean claim.”
    For about the last ten years that has been less true and more docs either don’t par or close their practices to new Medicare patients.
    i suspect this will go nowhere, but time will tell.

  78. Harry says:

    A big subject.
    Some brief observations. I have views that one might characterize as socialist. The key one is that I do not think that incomes as determined by the free market reflect marginal contribution to social welfare. In fact I would argue that most incomes are determined by a combination of anti-competitive practices (trade associations, cartels, and monopolies or monopsonies) or reflect pure economic rents – meaning they are unnecessary to encourage the economic activity associated with it. For example land rents.
    I can see that without price signals, marginal economic activity may not take place. But I would argue that many features of our current supposedly free market are not integral to well-functioning capitalist systems.
    I dont believe that substantial amounts of wealth should be inherited. I think that private property should be at least partially subordinated to the interests of the collective. We do this in war time. Why not, if the situation suggests in, in peace time.
    Individuals contribute to society in many ways. They have a stake in society when they serve its military for example. Are these people adequately compensated and looked after by the existing system.
    And what if productivity of capital continues to increase. If productive activity requires increasingly little human labour, would that mean that unemployed people should starve.
    All economic systems should be judged by how they serve society in general. If they outcomes are poor then the system is poor. There is no natural order, save that we make ourselves.
    All, of course, in my humble opinion.

  79. Mightypeon says:

    Concerning the pros and Cons of socialism, I daresay that it is the same as the difference between a medicine and a poison. It mostly depends on the dosage and the means of application (application by slow evolutionary process is good, application by Soviet Bajonett is not).
    Historically speaking, Capitalism worked pretty when its ruling classes where scared of some non capitalists, and thus kept the exploitation of those under them somewhat limited. One does not get this “sane capitalism” without someone scaring the capitalists into essentially sanity.
    I mean, look at the military industrial complex of the united states. The capitalists running it have completely messed up everything. You have essentially one factory left that can build artillery, and apparently zero that can build new Abrams tanks on US soil (there are some that can refit tanks though). If the US capitalists felt under any kind of threat, they would not do something that stupid. The whole situation with “lets outsource everything to China” is similar. This was incredibly shortsighted rank stupidity, and it is not coincidence that it happened for real after the Soviet Unions collapse.

  80. Eliot says:

    Barbara Ann,
    “Envy yes, but I think this in turn often stems from rootless insecurity, fear caused by feelings of inadequate self-sufficiency (of all kinds) and a resentment of those more at home in their culture and the world.”
    More at home, that feels true.
    Thank you,

  81. John Minehan says:

    ‘[F}ederal law that requires hospitals to treat the indigent starting at the emergency room . . . .”
    The “Emergency Treatment and Active Labor Act” (“EMTALA”) requires a hospital (essentially something with an Emergency Room, a community hospital or Academic Medical center but not an ambulatory surgical center or other independent diagnostic & treatment facility) to “stabilize” indigent patients.
    In order not to die of uncompensated care, these houses have learned to manage “diversions” and to define “stabilize” very carefully.
    It is a real question, worthy of detailed empirical study, if hospitals actually gave more care to the generally indigent BEFORE EMTALA passed.

  82. John Minehan says:

    Have you seen if he is dual-eligible for Medicaid? Unfortunately, it sounds like he is too young for EPIC coverage. (It seems like OMH should sponsor something like EPIC, or dual-eligibility should be routine.)

  83. John Minehan says:

    I think you can make a fairly strong empirical argument that there would be no big business without big government, that excessive regulations create barriers to entry that reduces competition enough to make bloated organizations economically functional, which they would not be if they had to deal with a lot of more nimble competition.
    The problem is that after you have made your nut, you don’t want to hear about Schumpeterian “Creative Destruction.”

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