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Muda69

Does Prosperity Trigger Calls for Socialism?

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http://reason.com/archives/2019/03/11/does-prosperity-trigger-calls-for-social

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The U.S. stock market is a decade into a rally that has seen broad indexes triple in value and generate $30 trillion in wealth. The unemployment rate is 3.8% nationally, and the early caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire are tied with even lower seasonally adjusted rates of 2.4%. Real annual growth in the gross domestic product was recently estimated at 2.9% for the U.S. in 2018, outpacing other developed economies such as those of Japan and Europe.

Does this sound like a textbook case of pre-revolutionary misery? Not exactly.

To hear the press and some leading Democrats tell it, though, America is on the cusp of a historic transition from capitalism to socialism.

The independent senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, is polling well among Democrats and drawing large crowds with an openly and self-described socialist program. Another self-described socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y), showed up in Texas over the weekend to pronounce that "to me, capitalism is irredeemable."

The Real Clear Politics headlines list is sizzling with the capitalism-socialism debate: "American Capitalism is under attack," writes Trish Regan at Fox Business. RealClear has two takes on the question from The New York Times alone: Roger Cohen's "Socialism and the 2020 American Election," and Bret Stephens advising that "Capitalism shouldn't be a dirty word." Writes Cohen: "A 21st-century American election is about to be fought over socialism. Amazing!"

As someone who a decade ago founded a website called FutureOfCapitalism.com, I can't say that I didn't see this debate coming. A decade ago, though, the unemployment rate was 9 or even 10%, and U.S. stock market indices had declined by more than 50% from their peaks.

Back then, Nobel-prize-winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was advocating nationalizing the banks, and President Obama was pushing a major government expansion of the federal government's role in the health care industry.

My concern had always been that it would be an economic downturn that would trigger socialism, the same way the Great Depression unleashed big government programs as a response.

Socialists, though, see virtually any economic condition as paving the path away from capitalism. In bad economic times, the population rebels against the system that can be blamed for having led to deprivation. And in good economic times, the heightened inequality means that class tensions are heightened, as soaring visible wealth stokes envy and resentment.

It may be that the danger of socialism is greater in good times than in bad, because in good times, people are susceptible to the illusion that the country can afford socialism.

Our current system is sufficiently mixed that when someone tries to credit capitalism for our present prosperity, it's inevitably pointed out that businesses and employees have benefited from government programs.

American socialists tend to stop short of advocating outright communism, just as American capitalists tend to stop short of advocating full-blown laissez-faire libertarianism.

Too often, though, the word "socialism" is just camouflage that avoids the more specific policy proposals. It hides the answers to more important questions, like, "what else, precisely, would you put the government in charge of that it isn't in charge of already? How much would that cost, and how would you pay for those new activities? And what makes you think that the new activities won't have their own unintended consequences or adverse effects on incentives?"

Likewise, those presenting themselves as defenders of capitalism might be asked what specific government programs, if any, they'd privatize, eliminate, or otherwise put out of business.

Without these specifics, the socialism-capitalism debate risks getting stale, or highly abstract and philosophical. When a debate's been going on this long, it's a good indication that it has less to do with empirical conditions in the economy, and more to do with underlying, pre-existing values and beliefs about wealth, property, opportunity, and equality.

Some interesting questions.  Perhaps some of our pro-socialist champions here on the GID can help answer them?

 

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5 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

So food want, aka starvation,  is better than food waste.  Got it.

 

I'm sure loss is accounted for in item pricing. I found it odd that in the link DE posted, they used a pic of produce, which is one of the biggest loss products in the marketplace.

Go capitalism!

 

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20 hours ago, Muda69 said:

So food want, aka starvation,  is better than food waste.  Got it.

 

There are plenty of starving people under capitalism in this country.

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1 minute ago, DanteEstonia said:

There are plenty of starving people under capitalism in this country.

So you are contending there would be significantly less starving people under socialism?

 

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1 minute ago, Muda69 said:

So you are contending there would be significantly less starving people under socialism?

 

Probably, if done right. For the USA being the land of plenty, we sure have a lot of people in poverty.

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11 minutes ago, DanteEstonia said:

Probably, if done right. For the USA being the land of plenty, we sure have a lot of people in poverty.

So starvation and poverty are now used interchangeably?

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17 minutes ago, DanteEstonia said:

Probably, if done right. For the USA being the land of plenty, we sure have a lot of people in poverty.

Please tell us in detail how socialism could be "done right", and how it would eliminate poverty.

 

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"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned, this is the sum of good government.” - Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address 

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3 hours ago, Muda69 said:

"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned, this is the sum of good government.” - Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address 

Slave owner, who kept slaves courtesy of government power.

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10 minutes ago, DanteEstonia said:

Slave owner, who kept slaves courtesy of government power.

*yawn* , got anything better than trotting out that old fact?  

Waiting for your details of how socialism could be "done right", and how it would eliminate poverty.

 

 

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The Socialist Fantasy. Central planning always fails.: http://reason.com/archives/2019/03/27/the-socialist-fantasy/

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Venezuela is a disaster.

Yet 20 years ago, it was the wealthiest country in Latin America. It still has the world's biggest oil reserves. It should be a happy and prosperous nation.

But then Venezuela went socialist. Democratic socialist to be exact. They voted for it. Hugo Chavez promised the poor "social and economic reforms." The majority of voters believed him.

So did many American leftists.

Model Naomi Campbell traveled to Venezuela to give Chavez a hug. She called him "a rebel angel."

Michael Moore said that Chavez used oil money to "eliminate 75 percent of extreme poverty."

But now that the socialists created much more extreme poverty, I would think that progressives would realize that democratic socialism is not the route to paradise.

But no, nothing convinces a dedicated socialist—or much of the media.

A popular Vox video titled "The collapse of Venezuela, explained" never once mentions socialism. Instead, it says Venezuela collapsed because "oil prices plummeted in 2014 and Maduro failed to adjust."

"Blaming socialism for Venezuela's riches to rags story is grossly misleading," said Al Jazeera anchor Ryan Kohls.

Venezuela didn't collapse because of socialism, added comedian John Oliver. "It's a story about epic mismanagement."

But mismanagement is what happens under socialist governments. It always happens.

That's because no group of central planners is wise enough to manage an entire economy. Even if they have good intentions, socialists eventually run out of other people's money.

In Venezuela, the solution was to print more money. That caused massive inflation.

When businesses raised prices to try to keep up with inflation, Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro called that "profiteering" and punished many by confiscating their businesses.

The socialists claimed they would run those businesses better than greedy capitalists could because they weren't obsessed with profits. Without the "excess" profits, prices would be lower and more money would go to the poor.

But pursuit of profit is what makes an economy work! I'd think the collapse of nations such as Venezuela, China, Russia, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Cuba would have taught the socialists that. But no.

In America, progressives claim that socialism is succeeding in much of Europe. John Oliver claims, "There are plenty of socialist countries that look nothing like Venezuela."

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders agrees, saying: "When I talk about democratic socialism, I am not looking at Venezuela. I'm not looking at Cuba. I'm looking at countries like Denmark, like Sweden."

But those countries are not socialist!

Yes, they have big welfare programs, but their economies are more capitalist than America's.

They set no national minimum wage. They impose fewer regulations on businesses. Their leaders even go out of their way to point out that they are not socialist. Denmark's prime minister went on TV to respond Sanders' comments by saying: "Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy."

Not only are Scandinavian countries not socialist, lately they've reduced government control of their economies. Denmark privatized the national phone system and the railroads—and sold the Copenhagen airport to a private company.

Swedish economic historian Johan Norberg points out: "We did have a period in the 1970s and 1980s when we had something that resembled socialism, big government that taxed and spent heavily. (But) that's the period in Swedish history when our economy was going south."

So Sweden reduced government's role, too. They privatized businesses and even instituted school choice.

The progressives are just wrong. Scandinavian countries that they call "socialist successes" are not socialist, and they're moving toward more capitalism. It's astounding that the progressives keep winning votes peddling economic nonsense.

At least Venezuelans who escaped their country's socialism understand now that socialism creates poverty.

I asked Stossel TV's Gloria Alvarez to go to Florida to interview recent Venezuelan immigrants about socialism. Most gave answers like "I wouldn't recommend it to anyone" and "It's never gonna work!"

It never will. Never.

As libertarian economist Ludwig von Mises wrote: "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement... They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office, every man but one a subordinate clerk."

Until progressives learn that, tragedies like Venezuela will happen again and again.

Wise words.  Too bad the liberal progressives will never heed them,  after all they know better than the rest of us.

 

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Socialism for Thee, But Not for Me: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/socialism-for-thee-but-not-for-me/

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At the National Review Institute’s 2019 Ideas Summit, a panel featuring the great Representative Dan Crenshaw of Texas, our Kevin Williamson, and Charlie Cooke on “the new Socialism” made the important point that most of today’s socialists, even the self-proclaimed ones, either don’t understand socialism, or want it implemented in a way that doesn’t really touch their lives. Crenshaw noted that the U.S. House of Representatives had considered a motion to recommit that would limit the fees of trial lawyers; suddenly Democrats argued that it wasn’t the role of Congress to interfere with wages, and that the market would sort out the appropriate level of compensation for trial lawyers. “Yes, the market knows, that’s the point!” Crenshaw laughed.

Charlie pointed out that American socialists keep emphasizing that their role model is Norway (which is not all that socialist in its economy and political system, and whose economy was helped by roughly $30 billion from oil revenues last year, making it 17 percent of the GPD and 21 percent of the state’s revenues) and that Venezuela somehow isn’t representative of socialism, despite its government embracing the label. Kevin observed that if the socialists are right, and that true socialism has never been tried, their preferred system is the unluckiest in human history, as the countries that embrace it keep “trying” it wrong and coincidentally collapsing into authoritarian economic basket cases with gulags, secret police, bread lines, and the rest.

What most self-proclaimed socialists want is price controls for what they want to buy but not what they want to sell; wage controls that will only raise their wages, never limit them; a government-enforced system of wealth redistribution that will only give them more, but never take from them.

Most socialists perceive themselves on one side of a negotiation and forget how the issue looks from the other side. Employers seem harsh and demanding until you have to hire someone, whether it’s a nanny, a tree-trimmer, a house contractor, or a babysitter. Price controls sound nice in theory and the profit motive sounds sinister until you’re selling something on eBay and are hoping the bidding goes higher and higher. A lot of cries of “socialism” really are just code for “the government should use its power to get me a better deal.”

Yep, most socialist believe that only government force can get them a "better deal".

 

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On 3/21/2019 at 3:00 PM, DanteEstonia said:

Slave owner, who kept slaves courtesy of government power.

Imagine how enlightened the country would have been if only you would have lived during Jefferson's time........

 

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2 hours ago, TrojanDad said:

Imagine how enlightened the country would have been if only you would have lived during Jefferson's time........

 

He would have been King, which the kind of governmental system he prefers.

 

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1 hour ago, swordfish said:

Image may contain: 1 person, text and closeup

The Shah of Iran also came to the USA for medical care; what’s your point?

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Worthless currency litters the street in Venezuela.

l5ddl4fm0uq21.jpg

Not "real socialism"  I guess.............

 

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https://www.newsweek.com/venezuelans-desecrate-cemeteries-graves-sell-human-remains-valuables-economy-1274134

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The socioeconomic woes in Venezuelan are prompting its locals to take desperate measures to make ends meet.

Some Venezuelans are robbing cemeteries and graves of valuable objects and even human remains for witchcraft rituals, according to a recent report from France 24. “The South Caracas General Cemetery has a bad reputation because there are a lot of robberies,” a driver told a reporter.

A priest who was conducting a burial told the French broadcaster, “This cemetery has been handed over to grave robbers, and that’s sacrilege in the eyes of the Lord.” Another man consulted by the channel's reporters said, “Back in the 1930s and ’40s, bodies were buried with gold jewelry, so criminals now look at the dates of birth and death on the headstones, so they open the tombs and take out the gold and sell it.”

When robbers can’t find any jewelry, they resort to stealing and selling human bones. “They take the remains out to the ground. A skull is worth something, each finger is worth something, a hand is worth something else. It’s unacceptable. We bury the dead so that they can rest in peace,” one of the interviewees told the channel, adding that the cemetery is home to witchcraft.

...

The dead in Venezuela are the latest victims of a crumbling economy.  AP revealed that bronze headstones were disappearing from the East Caracas Cemetery, considered one of the country’s most prestigious. Even though the robbery of bronze headstones is not a new phenomenon in Venezuela, people who seek to resell precious metals have begun to break into a burial place that was once deemed impervious to criminal activity. In the wake of a social media firestorm condemning the robberies, the East Caracas Cemetery said in a statement at the time that it has beefed up security, but the report found that the absence of guards was noticeable.

Venezuela is grappling with a shrinking economy due to populist measures adopted by the Chavista regime for almost 20 years. This month, the South American nation's hyperinflation has reached a staggering 1.2 million percent, and it is expected to reach 4.3 million percent by the end of December, according to economists. The lack of medicine and food—as well as insecurity, infant malnutrition and crippling infrastructure—have forced 3 million Venezuelans to flee their country to neighboring South American countries since 2015.

Hyperinflation has also posed a hurdle for Venezuelans to find wood and metal for coffins, as well as cement to build tombs, according to a Reuters report in early December. Consequently, many Venezuelans have attempted to cremate their loved ones, but crematories are coping with a lack of propane gas due to high demand.

Yay for socialism.

 

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