Interesting read about Sanders being wrong about Scandinavian success with democratic socialism.
@Counsel I find that article to be suspect. NBC News is part of a corporation with a vested interest in the status quo. That means that they'll have a strong tendency to give voice to people who argue in favour of the worldview they want to espouse (The "It's not socialism. It's culture and work ethic." thread in that feels very familiar, for example.) and minimize the exposure of arguments which could be harmful to their profit margins.
First, it brushes under the rug the fact that the U.S. is the only country in the developed world that does not have a universal healthcare system, nor paid parental leave or mandatory paid vacation days or various other aspects of "socialism".
Second, it ignores that the U.S. has "socialism" in things like police, fire, and military services in an effort to draw a false dichotomy and support the idea that the U.S.'s current state is the ideal balance of public and private services. (Keeping in mind that the U.S. has roughly a third of the entire world's military spending, and there are tanks sitting mothballed in the desert because "we don't need more tanks" was answered with "but my friends who make tanks want more money".)
Third, it argues in favour of free markets... something the U.S. very much does not have because of how entangled big business is in setting government policy so they get unnecessary subsidies and "corporate welfare". (ie. croney capitalism)
For example, the U.S. heavily subsidizes fossil fuel companies (who are some of the most profitable companies in the world) while neglecting subidies for renewable energy, which is a young sector but growing massively as a source of jobs... global warming aside.
Fourth, it points out co-occurrences but doesn't justify its claims that they have causal relationships.
At *minimum*, I'd want to check how representative Mr. Schatz's views are of the scientific consensus rather than taking him at his word because he has a degree.
The important thing is that going to either extreme fails. We're just arguing over where in the middle makes the healthiest economy.
(eg. Too much socialism and everyone has money but there's nothing to spend it on. Too much capitalism and money can buy anything, but nobody has it to spend. Either is unhealthy for an economy because they both represent a failure to properly connect supply and demand.)
Likewise, you could argue that a proper social safety net is "saving for an emergency" for economies.
For example, going to work despite being sick is a major problem in America known as presenteeism and it causes a *lot* of lost productivity as people not only can't focus on their work properly, but spread what they've got to others.
Another term not enough people know is "the velocity of money" and it refers to how readily people who receive money put it back into circulation again.
(And, thus, how the most effective way to bolster an economy is to inject money at the *bottom* (demand-side economics) because the poor have a nearly infinite capacity to find needed goods and services they've been putting off for lack of money compared to the rich, who are already in the habit of saving what they receive.)
well yes and no, IMO...
I agree capitalism is a socialism, but no scandinavian countries arent farther down the socialism scale, if we are careful about what that means...
Socialism is basically where the economic means (wealth) is redistributed to the lower class (the working class).. its the basic definition.
Therefore a capitalism would allow for free markets with very little wealth distribution and free market private entprises.
A socialism however would have high wealth redistribution. Keep in mind wealth doesnt always mean money (though often in this case it does).
By that definition scandanavian countries are not socialism, in fact in many ways america is more socialistic than scandanavian countries. If we look at the ratio of tax burden between working class and upper class the ratio is much higher in the USA than most scandinavian countries. As such the wealth redistribution is actually much higher.
What the scandinavian countries have, and this is what their own politicians have said, is that they are a capitalist country with strong welfare programs... Welfare is not an attempt to redistribute wealth, it is simply an attempt to help give basic life needs to the poor. The goal is not to eliminate rich people or to demonize them in anyway (as we do in america)..
As such I would argue that while they have stronger welfare and public works, they are, in fact, less of a socialism than america is.
I think the point of confusion is that, because there's so much waste and corruption in the U.S. budget, it appears to be redistributing less wealth than it is.
Also, the amount of wealth redistribution from the top to the bottom has been declining in the U.S. for decades, as lobbying by corporations and the wealthy results in taxation being shifted from means-scaled taxes, such as income tax, and taxes which take effect only above certain levels, like the estate tax, to ones such as payroll taxes and sales taxes, which are either capped at a certain point (payroll tax) or don't scale with wealth and represent a larger portion of the income of lower-class citizens than of upper-class ones... thus making taxation more regressive.
In that respect, the aspect of socialism that Sanders is focused on is that the poor need more wealth redistributed to them and the issue is getting muddied by how much wealth is currently getting redistributed to the rich.
As a Canadian, who keeps a close eye on the state of the U.S. but, at the same time, has to deal with a less progressed version of the same trends, I argue that "demonize the rich" has the wrong connotations as, while there are certainly many good rich people, economic policy is currently being driven by a subset of rich people who are setting policies severely detrimental to the lower classes.
As someone who has a home and residency in both the USA and a Nordic country (the Netherlands), as well as someone who has been on both welfare and a member of the highest tax bracket.. my personal expiernce is this: welfare in america sucks.. welfare in the netherlands is superior.. With that said there is a LOT of wealth redistribution in america you but you are right that inefficiencies cause it to disappear. The wealth redistribution in america is more about eliminating the super rich than it is about actually improving the super poor. Which is sad.
In the netherlands the taxes are more fair, the lower class pay more than they would in america, and the upper class pay less than they would in america. But the poor get actual useful help and the public programs are of much higher quality in the netherlands.
First, on terminology:
Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.
-- Speech to the Negro American Labor Council (May 1965), as quoted in From Civil Rights to Human Rights : Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice (2009), by Thomas F. Jackson, p. 230
The second, more fitting one is, unfortunately, from sources not available online, so the closest I can get to a proper citation is as follows:
In demanding jobs and income, therefore, "we are going to demand what is ours." Lest anyone object that this amounted to "welfare" or "socialism," King pointed to the enormous sums which the government pumped into agriculture and industry. "When it's given to white people it's called a subsidy. Everybody in this country is on welfare. Suburbia was built on federally-subsidized credits. And the highways were built by federally-subsidized firms to the tune of ninety per cent." America already had "socialism for the rich" he insisted; only the poor had to endure "rugged, free enterprise capitalism."
-- To Redeem the Soul of America: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference By Adam Fairclough p. 360-361
(It's the likely origin of the popular paraphrases "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free market capitalism for the poor." and "This country has socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor.")
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