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Socialism and Capitalism.

Thinking about socialism, I realized that my beliefs can be summed up easily: Socialism must be a social force. It can't be legislated without the full will of the people. Keeping that will afterward, too, means that it has to work in the best interests of that society, too, or it will fail.

A society is more likely to be in tune with its laws if the regions the laws govern are small. A country as vast as the United States is currently is legally top-heavy: It has many distinct regions with distinct cultures. No law fits all of them easily. What few pass the muster are little more than the Bill of Rights. Even within my state, there's enough regional difference to cause strife. The uneven population base leans money toward the majority's benefit, often to the detriment of those on the other side of the mountains, where the issues are different and none of the services the money has funded are available.

As a society, the US is amazingly rich. I think some socialism is the Right Thing, if only because things like malnutrition and most disease can be solved 100%. There's no reason for any member of our society to be excluded. We can bring the base-line up. I don't think all industry must be private — quite the opposite — but that human rights can be an ever increasing thing, not some ancient minimum that can never be altered.

Imagine if, today, in all grocery stores, the food were priced much as it is today. Except at the bottom of the shelves in the front are bags of beans, rice, oats ... maybe even flour. Basics. Free. Just take some — there's plenty, after all. It's not glamourous, but one need not die of starvation even if completely without money. There is no qualifying, no need for tracking, and it's basic enough and the value low enough that hoarding should be rare, and treated as the social disease it is, not as a high crime.

The ingenious may decide to save their cash and eat only basics. It may spur small-time industry and company start-ups, because one can always put food on the table while trying a new venture. Imagine being relatively poor, and saving the money your family spends on food. That goes a long way toward funding a new invention, a new business, or can just ease a financial tight spot. There would be no barrier to, tomorrow, simply not paying for food for a while while you get back on your feet, or found a way to be financially independent in the future. You won't get rich just by eating beans and rice, but you may become independent.

Other things, the things that naturally form monopolies, particularly utilities, make perfect things to socialise. Power plants have little room to compete, and given a free market, will tend to play winner-take-all. Phone and internet service I am somewhat dubious of being socialised, because a driving force to improve is needed. With the right attitude, it too could be socialised.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 7th, 2005 09:39 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is really cool.

I like your thing about laws, that makes sense, and it's something to think about.

Apr. 8th, 2005 09:49 am (UTC)
I really like that idea.
Apr. 8th, 2005 03:11 pm (UTC)
My vision of the Happy Future
Dumpster-diving will be pointless, because all stores will put their imminently-expiring food on a free shelf right next to the door. The stuff that's actually scungy will get composted. The in-between stuff will get cooked into Purina Husband Chow, fried in crispy kibble-sized pieces, and served at Super Bowl parties across the land.
Apr. 9th, 2005 09:40 am (UTC)
That's alot like some of my thoughts that I haven't managed to express well. I've usually thought more about housing than food (what good is food if you can't cook it?), but yeah - just provide the basics, and let people work for better things than mere survival.

Interestingly, I was listening to Rush Limbaugh a while back, when he was complaining about how all the liberals are so happy to be giving so much money to the poor countries for tsunami relief[1], and he said somethign about how what we should be concerned with is the generation of wealth - arranging things so that as much new wealth as possible is constantly being generated.
And I was thinking, right, so just give people the simple, cheap, basic necessities for life, and then they'll be able to go generate some wealth. Maybe I should've called in.

[1]: purely economically, it would have been much, much, cheaper to set up a monitoring & warning system ahead of time (monitoring was already mostly in place). If we weren't so fucking hoardsome, we might've done that and saved almost half a million lives. The "liberals" aren't happy because we're giving away money, they're happy because we're finally paying attention to people who have been destitute for decades.
Apr. 11th, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC)
The socialist vision: rice and beans in every pot, but not too much. The fact is if anyone wanted to live that way they could easily do that here in the U.S. They're called communes.
Apr. 14th, 2005 06:18 pm (UTC)
That seems to approach things backwardly. It's less a matter of choice to live simply (which I endorse and already do, but it's a private matter), but instead to solve broad social problems socially: Hunger has no reason to exist within North America. None. There is no excuse not to be taking care of our citizens and fellow human beings other than spite.

We have a huge problem with the welfare programs in the US of A. It has thresholds that make it hard to climb out of, and our entire social structure makes it very hard to get a leg up if you're in a bad spot. That's a terrible way to waste a lot of lives in mediocrity. Too much time spent putting food on the table and a roof overhead, and not enough time doing what humans do best: creating and learning.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )