Saturday, January 24, 2015

Capitalism vs. Socialism


Recently, a friend of mine and I were good-naturedly debating about the merits of capitalism and socialism.
When taken to the extremes, both economic systems of course have pluses and minuses. One could argue that capitalism rewards prosperity and encourages free enterprise, but greatly widens the gap between the rich and the poor. Conversely, one could argue that socialism greatly minimizes poverty, but discourages free enterprise and unfairly redistributes wealth. 

Many of the Western European countries have adopted a "socialist-democracy" approach: Incorporating socialist and capitalist principles in order to maximize their effectiveness in unison. 

While the capitalism vs. socialism argument has turned into a liberal versus conservative one during the last 25 years, I often wonder why we pigeonhole ourselves into thinking of it that way. Why is a conservative unable to see the merits of Socialism? Why is a liberal unable to see the merits of capitalism?

Perhaps it's because of the pejorative way in which both terms are currently viewed. For instance, many people have unfairly equated socialism to communism because of Lenin's bastardization of Marx's theories. Similarly, many people unfairly equate capitalism with money-hungry Wall-Street tycoons. 
Of course, both stereotypes serve no purpose other than to denigrate the other in the same way one middle-school child would denigrate another middle-school child. 
So I would like to open this blog post to a mature discussion of the differences between the two philosophies. 
If you dare say, which way do you lean? Do you lean toward capitalism or socialism? Or somewhere in between? Or neither of the two? This is a completely open forum :-) I only ask that we keep all comments respectful. 

97 comments:

  1. I love rural America because we don't get into all the debate about all the stuff. Everyone I know works hard and shares the bounty they have, but the most important part of this is what they consider bounty.

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  2. It is true what you say. Both are viewed in extremes and taken to denote conservatism, vs liberalism.
    I believe that the refusal by some to see the merits of both is historic, and I think underlying it all is an overall struggle for power and control. 'They are powerful or potentially powerful, they think this.. so i'll demonize what they think, and convince as many as i can to think what I think'.
    I lean towards socialism. But would like to see an ethical capitalism employed, one which does not reward corruption , further entrench discrimination and decades old unfair inheritance often generated through the slave trade. We cannot re-wirite history but any system that reduces the worlds 'majority' to poverty, and a minority to huge wealth is not a fair system.
    Many of these poorer people are capable, and extremely hard working and resourceful. Its wrong to assume otherwise. Our current capitalist system implies that the poorer people are feckless, which impacts on attitudes, and the policies of those in power.
    The system works, and is working well.. for those at the very top who want things to remain as they are.
    It's okay to make money, but it's not okay ( IMO) to see others suffer as a by product of said system.. and do nothing
    yeah...I'm a socialist capitalist :)

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  3. The biggest problems with either seem to come from the resulting 'versus' attitudes, when those kick in the ability to listen to one another tends to turn off.
    I think a combination of the two is our best hope for a fair and equitable future. The rewards capitalism offers for hard work and ingenuity, combined with socialism's awareness that things in people's lives happen (such as catastrophic ill health, or disability) which require the support of the group; and that this is not the result of laziness, etc... but are simply a fact of real life.

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  4. There is very little in life that I see in black and white terms. Capitalism versus socialism? Cherry pick the best from both. And yes, I lean more toward the socialist edge of the equation.

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  5. While one argues with logic on the merits or demerits of the two system, the proponents of both would not do so.Instead their arguments are around the merits of where their sympathies lie. In doing they argue for the pure kind not wanting to accept a mixture of both systems in one economy. The other defect is that the hidden agenda of both would like to ensure their grip on power politically that they make it their business not to see the benefits of the other. Good thoughts Keith!

    Hank

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  6. Philosophically, both seem to be a part of the same coin, just a different side in that they're both materialistic philosophies that make "goods" the ideal. I also get upset when I see Christianity used as support for modern Capitalism. It would be nice to have a world with goals that were deeper than having more stuff and instead focused on having a better life (I sometimes wonder if European countries aren't doing this better than the US).

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  7. To be honest, most economies of the first world are what we call "mixed economies". Economy that rely on both private and public methods. Even the United States under the most Conservative presidents still had mixed economies.

    Republicans have just enacted another Red Scare, fear-mongering dumb people who think only of "small government" because "Jesus". Most of these people would fail a high school economics class.

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  8. The Failure of Capitalism is that it now needs the government to subsidize it.
    People working for a capitalist business (Walmart, for instance) and all those on minimum wage are subsidized with housing assistance, food cards, health and other taxpayer supported benefits. If Capitalism really worked it could be done without the socialist assistance. Raise the minimum wage and I would have more faith in Capitalism.

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  9. The Failure of Capitalism is that it now needs the government to subsidize it.
    People working for a capitalist business (Walmart, for instance) and all those on minimum wage are subsidized with housing assistance, food cards, health and other taxpayer supported benefits. If Capitalism really worked it could be done without the socialist assistance. Raise the minimum wage and I would have more faith in Capitalism.

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  10. I recently read a series of fiction (but filled with many true facts) books that centered around Chernobyl and how life was for people in Russia and the Ukraine during that time and the years after ... so after reading this series, I would have to say that I am not a supporter of Socialism ...

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  11. Jacquelineand said it best.
    Yes, I lean towards capitalism. Those who work hard should be rewarded and not have to share unfairly with those who refuse to work at all. Sorry, I live in the South and I see a lot of people take advantage of the system and live dependent on the government. And then have kids and teach them to do the same thing. Besides, capitalism means business owners who supply jobs.

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  12. I fall somewhere in the middle, but probably more on the socialism side. And the reason is greed. The greed of Monsanto, GMO's, and the poisoning of Americans to make billions. The greed of insurance companies denying people for pre-existing conditions. The greed of politicians and the people that buy elections. The greed that is widening the gap between the astoundingly poor and extremely wealthy at an exponential rate. It hurts to watch people hurt each other on purpose, all for money. IMO, American capitalism needs reform. I'm not saying a completely socialist system is the answer, but the country is headed for revolution at some point in the future if we don't at least try and lessen the gap in income equality. At what point will the group living in extreme poverty realize they greatly outnumber the rich and fight back? History suggests it will happen, at some point.

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  13. I lean toward capitalism because I believe it encourages people to achieve and reach beyond their boundaries.

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  14. I don't know how to respond to this really cause everyone has their one beliefs so no matter what is said everyone goes home still with their own beliefs-but discussion is good too-and yes I agree that there are extremes for both sides-but I believe that is why we became America in the first place-to escape socialism-control of our lives by government. and we need to remember that.
    i personally believe that socialism will in the end usually lead to marxism and worse when fully carried out-for me personally I want less government in my life, and my belief in America and our Constitution is that the opportunities for everyone are here-we all have choices-we just need to choose. that is what is so wonderful in this country-freedom of choices.
    It also goes back to people really helping each other and not expecting the government or someone else to step in and do it for us. we need to take more responsibility for ourselves and not look for a handout. I also am so against taking away from those that have worked for and earned what they have for the government to come in and give their money to someone else.
    so nothing is free-
    another case in point for this Obamacare-take away from those that have to give to someone else-I have had the same health insurance that I worked for and was a retirement benefit for me since 1978-now with this new health law I have now lost my healthcare that I worked for and paid into and earned and now for the first time needed to go hunt for insurance that I lost so the govt could give what I had to someone else-nope nothing is free-I am not in the upper class-
    so no I personally am not a supporter of socialism and government control of people
    and for capitalism to work fairly-the government should never step in and support and bail out a business-if the business fails do it's business practices and choices or what ever-then it should fail-period no matter how large it is-that is what the smaller businesses do--and there is always another business ready to step in.
    just my take on this issue

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    1. Amen to this post... I truly don't think that most normal Americans know really what the real differences are --or care... They just want their lives to be good, even if they haven't worked hard to make it good themselves. There will always be poor among us. And yes, many of them have had unfortunate circumstances and they do need help from the Govt. and from churches and yes those of who who can help... I have no problem with that at all. What I don't like is when our Govt. keeps taking more and more of our hard-earned money --and wasting it on themselves and their needs and wants ---and not those who REALLY need it... I am so willing to give extra money to those in need--but I want to give it to them myself rather than giving it to the Govt. to waste. Capitalism is what this country is built on... It has worked for the most part. People work hard and gain the rewards. BUT--with Socialism, the Govt. just gets bigger and bigger and wants to control our lives in every respect. I want smaller Government ---and I want Govt. to stay out of our business. Let the states work on their own rules and regulations for each individual state. I don't want to turn into Europe. Less and less people are working --and having to 'depend' upon Govt... Govt. is in charge of them and their lives... Gradually this turns into total control ---with a 'king' type person in charge --which leads to Marxism and Communism. I don't think any of us in the USA want that. This is not just a Republican/Democrat problem in our country now. Congress and the Obama Administration are not thinking of us---the people. They live in their own WEALTHY worlds in Washington... Our entire system needs to be changed... I do completely agree with kathyinozarks.... Thanks for listening. I am an old woman -- and I'm definitely not wealthy. BUT--I saw my Dad work very hard his entire life to support our family. If he needed to work two jobs, he did it. Today, people don't even want to work at all since they can get tons of money from our Govt (welfare, food stamps, etc.) Just hurts to see this happening... God Bless America....

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    2. thanks for your heartfelt reply Betsy
      Kathy

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  15. Hello Keith, I would have to say I am somewhere in between.. I can say I do not like that a lot Corporations are leaving the USA to do their business and still receiving tax breaks.. There is way too much greed.. Great post, have a happy weekend!

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  16. Oh man, that is a whole big can of worms. I think that I'm on middle ground on this one. It a very good question with a very complex analogy.

    Hugs,
    JB

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  17. Wonderful post, love your description of socialism. Healthcare comes to mind. On that basis, I lean toward socialism.

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  18. Middle ground for me as well . . .
    Guess I will sit back and watch it get "duked" out . . .
    Greed be gone and justice prevail seems to be my mantra . . .

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  19. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon is my choise

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  20. I probably fall somewhere between the two also, Keith. I'm not really a politically oriented person. I agree with Lynne: "greed be gone and justice prevail" that is precisely how I feel...

    Have a Great Weekend:)

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  21. Capitalism is great because it allows one to achieve and go as high as they can go. Screw lazy sobs that just sit on their arse and expect handouts, yes there are those that need them, but also many who are just lazy and they get away with it. But then you have the greed ridden idiots that just want more and more stepping on everyone to get it. You take out the human component and both are great lol

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  22. I like what Pat said. I really honestly don't know much between the two to chime in with the discussion, but it has been interesting to read the comments left so far. I really need to educate myself more I think about things like this. Do enjoy the weekend :)

    betty

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  23. Maybe I don't understand socialism, but if the plus is minimizing poverty (I did read that correctly, didn't I?), my understanding that the way it does this is by redistributing the wealth so that Everyone is equally poor. It doesn't make anyone wealthy or even live at a middle class standard. I don't see how that benefits anyone. So, even though capitalism has disadvantages (there are rich and there are poor). everyone has an opportunity to better their situation. I would rather live in a place where there is a chance to better my lot (where there is hope) than a place where no one can live any better because we're all stuck in a place of equal misery (no hope). And that is why I don't see socialism as a solution.

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  24. I will respectfully not express an opinion on this. Just stopping by to wish you well and to thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers during my illness.

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  25. My post today addresses this issue. I am grey. The economy is always a moving target and needs constant tweaking. Success and risk should be rewarded. Opportunity should be available to all.

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  26. I've read comments and learned that nobody of commenters lived in socialistic country, never or just one year.
    I'm on Julie Tucker-Wolek side. Although she has only read a fiction book about the life in socialist country. I lived in socialism-communism society some decades of my life. I do not want more.

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  27. Somewhere in the middle would be the best bet

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  28. I lean toward social democracy. On my face book page I label myself as a proud lefty. I prefer to use the term social democracy. These days with the squeezing of the middle class we need something to readjust the balance.

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  29. Cor blimey. This is a tricky one! I really like the theory of socialism, but I'm not sure it works in practice. Having said that, it's really important we keep some socialist principles, like social security benefits etc for when people are in need of them. There's a lot about capitalism that I really don't like. The gap between the rich and the poor and the endless production of stuff we don't need, but keep on buying, which in its turn destroys the planet, one habitat at a time.

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  30. I watched the first decade of this century turn turn Republican voters against their own best interests and turn our country into an international belligerent. Concurrent with that came a corporate assault upon trade unions along with a decline of government by discussion at all levels. We're left with disenfranchisement, social marginalization and government by intimidation. Fact that we still have a country that is responsive to repair is due to what administrations of the prior century did right. Unfortunately, both socialism and capitalism are vulnerable to this form of disruption.

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  31. its an interesting argument...i think that you are right in that the extremes of any of them can be dangerous....i think we have a social responsibility...but the competitiveness of capitalism drives us...

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  32. I have no problem sharing part of what I have with someone who has little. However, that doesn't make me want to work any less hard or to not try to improve my own life. Caring for others does not kill ambition. Surely there is a middle ground.

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  33. Not trying to get out of an answer, but I really do believe there are very good and very bad things about each!

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  34. I think a healthy mixture of both usually works well.

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  35. My Mamma always told me to never talk about politics, money, or religion if you want to keep your friends! She also told me I never listened!
    It seems to me our country is divided more now than it's ever been. I don't think conservatives, liberals, democrats, republicans, whatever.....are ever 100% correct in their thinking. I think the back-biting and name-calling within the parties is ridiculous. I have decided during the next campaign, the people who post negative political stuff on FB will be unfriended. I'm so tired of the negativity. An ex-friend (see-shouldn't talk about it!) and I were debating a couple of years ago and I said to her, " Name - you are always telling me how horrible the person is I plan on voting for....I'm not opposed to listening to whatever you can tell me good about your person. Or do you know anything good about him?" She struggled in answering the question.
    See there...how I stayed in the middle....I should run for office, huh!

    Cindy Bee

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  36. I lean to socialism in matters of education and health but I see the benefits of capitalism too. Either way, the world needs to have a frank conversation about greed followed by an action plan.

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  37. Keith, I lean towards socialism but I agree there needs to be a middle ground. I am not sure how to achieve that but I am extremely grateful to be a Canadian and although I have higher taxes, I also feel that it is worth it ... I have never had to worry about going to the doctors or the hospital or school.. any number of things like this...

    In saying all this, I do think that people that work hard deserve what they reap and they shouldn't be made to give a lot of it away as I can see that they feel it isn't given out fairly. Like I said, there is no easy answer but I do wish there could be a middle ground somewhere.

    Have a great weekend... :)

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  38. i usually abstain from these types of topics, but i lean more liberally but can see both sides.

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  39. Well, if I had to take a stand I would stand for capitalism. Not to say there are not some things about socialism that we could learn from!

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  40. Capitalism. You're brave. :) LOL

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  41. I think you have touched on one of the sources of the issue Keith - that of the pejorative way in which the two are viewed. Further to that is the dualism of the approach, as if it is an "either-or" My view is that we need something different to both these approaches. Neither has been able to contain rampant inequality, climate change, resource depletion and thievery from indigenous peoples. Both are rooted in the notion that economic growth will solve our problems, whereas in fact, economic growth is the heart of the problems. So, we need to look well beyond the capitalism-socialism duality and start getting creative about how we make collective decisions not just for now but for future generations.

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  42. Capitalism., with benevolence.

    Big hugs, honey...

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  43. I'll go for people with all their simplicities and complexities anyday! People. Just as they are; just as they'd want to be~

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  44. I believe power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. My problem is with unlimited power and since socialism limits choice it's the greater of two evils. Choice is power and that power belongs with the people. I know simplistic.

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  45. I prefer capitalism and classic liberalism. Bastiat's The Law (written in 1850) is the best explanation of the role of government that I've seen so far.

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  46. I would have to say I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm going on the healthcare aspect for a moment. As a Type 1 diabetic why should I be denied access to healthcare? And why should insurance companies decide what I qualify for? Believe me, I'd rather not have this disease and not have to worry one iota whether I can afford my supplies. The insurance companies and corporations in America are the ones running the show. I agree with what others are saying about the government working for the wealthy and the divide between those with and those without is growing by leaps and bounds. Anything taken to an extreme is wrong.

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  47. I'm in the middle. I applaud this post ... brave. You have a great group of followers though. One of the few posts I've seen regarding hot topics that didn't result in attacks.

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  48. I lean to capitalism. Communism, in its true form as Marx saw it, is unrealistic. It prevents growth and promotes fear. My mother lived under it after the Russians march in. Their land was taken away because it was supposed to be for the people. They lived in fear and had to hide many things. My mom escaped into the west in 1947(she didn't last long). Unfortunately, my grandfather was labelled a fascist by a neighbour and he was taken to a Russian labour camp (during Hitler's regime, my Opa was labelled a Communist and taken to a concentration camp). When they let him out in 1950, my mom helped him escape to the West. One's basic freedoms, we hold dear and don't even think about, would be at risk. Now I am Canadian and I have heard some Americans stated we are Socialist which I laugh at. I think it is only just and fair to have health care so nobody has to declare bankruptcy trying to save one's family member. I believe a mother should have the right to take a year off work when they have a child because that is the most formative time. I believe we should not have the right to carry every type of weapon just because the amendment was written when muskets were still around. We are not Socialist but Democratic and we have the freedom to say what we want(we just are too polite and should learn from the Americans to speak out more)

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  49. Interesting debate. I think we have to find the middle ground, and a complete move left or right would not be in anyone's best interest. With that being said, I tend to sit on the left side of the fence. We need programs to help the poor, ie. provide medical care, education, but mostly the ability to help people to help themselves.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/2015/01/mm-dance-marathon-time.html

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  50. I'm a green socialist, but not extreme left wing.

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  51. I believe in benevolent capitalism. We want to have compassion towards those unable to tend to themselves. To be compelled to redistribute my wealth for the benefit of others, however, could easily remove the motivation to work hard. We should have a right to choose how we want to spend our hard-earned money.

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  52. I think if it were done right and for the betterment of all people that somewhere right in the middle would be the way to go. But since that's just not going to happen I lean towards Capitalism more.

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  53. As far as I can tell any system in an extreme form seems to invite radicalism and a perversion of the values the system was trying to support. In Canada it seems there is no difference in liberal or conservative parties anymore. They are both pretty middle of the road. The real issue, at least in my view, is in Canada the parties don't represent the public anymore. they say they do but their actions tell a different story. Ministers are loyal to their party only so they can keep their job. listening to the public, the people who actually vote them into that job, seems like something they would rather avoid.

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  54. I think that both are in reality very far from their ideal forms...

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  55. I most definitely lean towards capitalism. I am by no means rich, but that is my leaning...I'm a Conservative voter; have always been and always will be. On New Year's Eve I was having drinks with friends whose son lives and works in China and on St. Valentine's Day coming up is marrying a Chinese lass; and the young couple were visiting the groom-to-be's parents for a couple of days. The bride-to-be is a lovely young lass and I felt thrilled and very proud of her philosophy when she said "Communism will never work because the human spirit cannot be and will not be crushed." Words to that effect....

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  56. I lean towards the Socialist side: I wonder where we would be as a society without things like statutory leave, five day weeks and such like and these were not the product of Capitalist thinking - neither people nor the Earth do well when the powerful view them as simply a commodity to improve the bottom line.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  57. I don't lean towards any... I "judge" attitudes and propositions and vote accordingly. Some times I get it right and they live up to my expectations (and their promisses!) sometimes I must have been really really distracted as signs were there but I still didn't see it.
    But Life is balanced this way. Sometimes I get it wrong or right. And other times other do. Live and let live. But I couldn't conceive a world without several currents and tendencies. The balance is achieved only with it, I like to think.
    Wishing you a lovely week,
    Teresa

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  58. That's a hard one. With socialism not everyone pulls their own weight, and get paid the same. It's kind of like being in a group project, there's usually 1 or 2 leaders, but all 7 people get the same grade. I never liked that because I was usually 1 of the leaders. I worked my butt off, and struggled for a good grade. Most everyone else sat back, and I couldn't depend on them.

    If you think about it there are businesses that run in a co-op way. Costco is super successful. Why? because everyone makes the same rate, and they have good health insurance. They get nothing, but the best. People in general are happy because of it. My husband had his artwork in a co-op gallery, and he found he was holding a lot of the weight. Older people that had been there for a long time weren't producing artwork, they wouldn't get him their images when he needed to make a press release for an upcoming show. So on, and so forth. It wasn't working for him, so he bailed. I'm pretty sure less is getting done there because he left.

    With Capitalism people get high and mighty. People that make less money in general feel like the rich people owe them. Sometimes they milk the system for all they can. There is so many opportunities though. Anyone could work their way up to being a manager, or boss if in the right situation.

    I'm in the middle. Why does it have to be one way, or another?

    The government wants to take over most things - as if it were socialist or capitalist. Really personally ran things often work the best. Take roads. It's pot hole central where I live right now. We don't have toll roads around here, but I've been on them before. They cost money to drive on. You know what? There's very little problems with them. The people that run them know that people will bitch and complain if there's problems with something they have to pay for. Maybe we need privately owned things more.

    If you look at the differences in school lunches from country to country it's crazy: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/what-school-lunches-look-like-in-20-countries-arou#.oteg9ngVO

    I'm thinking the US government isn't doing such a great job. It doesn't help that most families eat that way. The US government gives all kids free breakfast. Why? Because many kids don't eat breakfast at all. My tax dollars are going to feed other kids. Ok I don't want them to be hungry until lunch. But some kids still come to school after breakfast is served, and they never ate a thing in the morning. The US in general is so messed up! We give out handouts, and throw away so much.

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  59. Not too long ago I was visiting some relatives … they lean to the “conservative” side while I lean to the “progressive” side. (I like the term “progressive” better than “liberal” but they seem to be used interchangeably today.) The relatives were complaining about how the government was spending “their” money. I asked if they had taken a class in economics and, if so, did they remember that one of the primary functions of a government is to redistribute wealth? They seemed surprised to hear about that. Well, sometime after the USA was formed, our leaders figured out that the very few citizens who could afford to build roads didn’t want to spend ALL of their money doing that. We needed a way to get money in to pay for expensive things, like roads, that every citizen needs. So, they came up, in our case, with an income tax. Now, how much to take from each citizen and how to spend it became contentious. It still is today and always will be. The answers depend on your values. Often people want to do whatever is most beneficial to themselves and capitalism rewards that handsomely. On the other hand, as life goes along, we learn that helping others provides its own kind of benefits. This is where socialism shines. So, perhaps it’s all about balance. Sometimes I’m surprised we (as a country) do as well as we do, but then again, sometimes I’m disappointed with what we do. These are interesting times and I’m looking forward to see where we go. Thanks for the question and your excellent blog.

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  60. When I fly, I want to fly as high as I can go. The guy next to me has the same opportunity but if he doesn't take advantage of it, that's his problem. I guess that means capitalism.

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  61. I am a socialist, nobody should have more than each other.

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  62. They definitely have their own set of pluses and minuses. I guess I;m more of an in the middle person.

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  63. They definitely have their own set of pluses and minuses. I guess I;m more of an in the middle person.

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  64. I guess we have to go from acknowledgment of rights and responsibilities. Birds are flying as high as they can, but even they have some duty. Any anarchy has to be organized in productive way. For everyone and for all. To make all feel happy - utopia, to create the opportunity - to express yourself - the goal of each wise ruler. The result will be beneficial for all. Tags, labels, names - doesn't matter how we call such system.

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  65. I am in the middle, leaning more to socialism because I have seen Canada multi cultural community and it works in providing the same basic benefits and opportunities to everyone ~ However, I encourage free enterprise & the opportunity to make money for those bold enough to do it ~ Over the top capitalism is not good as greed will overcome all other objectives including providing the good of the community ~

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  66. You've summed it up nicely. I see good and bad in both. :)

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  67. I'm neither one nor the other, like Daisy said, there's good and bad in both.

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  68. I lean toward capitalism. My view, is, what is the incentive to work hard if everybody is going to get the same share of the pot? I think the book, Atlas Shrugged sums up my way of thinking about that topic.

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  69. I lean toward capitalism. My view, is, what is the incentive to work hard if everybody is going to get the same share of the pot? I think the book, Atlas Shrugged sums up my way of thinking about that topic.

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  70. I lean decidedly in the right direction. ;) That being said, I think the ideals of the other side are worthy ones, but I disagree with the methods used to realize them. Unfortunately, anytime I state that I lean one way or another (both overall or on certain issues, as my particular philosophies don't perfectly pigeonhole under one specific title), I'm accused of being "against" whatever the other side is "for." While that may be true for specific issues that I'm against, overall it would probably be more true to say that I'm against the methods and not necessarily the end goal, if that makes any sense.

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  71. Well said. I completely agree. To survive we need to be able to meet in the middle. If there was no middle, which we are getting further and further away from, I'd lean towards socialism.

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  72. I come from NZ which has socialised medicine, better state schooling, is safer and without homelessness. Which is not what you could say for where we live now in Oakland. Socialism is kinder and thinks about other people. However people have to be taxed for it and people in NZ my age know they will only have a small old age benefit.

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  73. I like the idea of social democrats, but like all political ideas it get corrupted by politicians. That gap between the rich and poor continues to cause a breach in capitalist societies. Let's see what happens in Greece now that the far left has won the election...hope rules supreme!! :-)

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  74. Middle ground for me.
    Gosh, you are a popular dude .. LOL

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  75. I grew up in a rural area where farmers struggled from year to year. But, they worked for everything they earned. Farmers paid their bills on time, provided for their families.
    I am a middle ground as well, but capitalism has been practiced and proven to work.

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  76. I am a conservative, leaning towards capitalism, but I also have great mercy and empathy for the poor. Eventually all systems become corrupt, so I haven't much faith left in any of them. We should all be reaching out to help the disadvantaged on a more personal level.

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  77. I lean towards capitalism. While I have a lot of empathy for the poor, and try to do my part to donate to charity and follow the "see a need, fill a need" method, it angers me that my husband and I work very hard for everything we have only to have a lot taken from us to distribute our earnings to those who don't work hard. I have siblings that get free health care, dental care, food stamps, day care allowances, free lunches and school fees, and they are able bodied people who just refuse to work. I have not problem helping elderly and disabled, but when we start passing out money to those who just refuse to earn for themselves, where's the incentive to keep working hard to pay into a system that doesn't reward those hard workers?

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  78. "Hmm, I've seen this guy Keith's name mentioned here and there. Maybe I'll check out his blog... Optimistic Existentialist? That sounds deep. But surely it can't be that dramatic, it's only a blo- Oh geez..."
    -My thought process

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  79. I lean towards socialism - it works well here in Sweden. I did spend three years in China and can say that extreme communism isn't the answer!

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  80. There are flaws in both systems. Socialism is perhaps set up to be fair--you work hard, you earn money, you have money. However, some people are born at an advantage because the children of those with money will be able to go to college while those who are born into a disadvantaged household will not be able to. So perhaps the answer is a government-funded college system where children can, if they choose, go to college and get the education and work hard to break that cycle?

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  81. I'm with most of the others, somewhere in the middle. But that's an attitude coming from a middle-class person. If I was dirt poor I might have a different attitude.

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  82. I personally don't lean towards either side, I just keep my nose out of it :). Mostly because I don't feel like I know enough about socialism or capitalism. I hope you are well Keith!

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  83. I stayed on an Israeli kibbutz (cooperative/socialist-like community) for six weeks. LOVED it. I'm a fan. I'm also a fan of Marx, minus the - uh - violence piece. In middle school, I had to be Karl Marx in a debate against Ghandi. Naturally, I kicked his butt. He didn't fight back. But I also saw a lot of merit in the communist-slash-socialist model ~ from each according to his abilities, to each according to need. It's a nice paradigm. Sadly, it won't ever work, though it kind of does in Israel.

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  84. It all depends on where you are in life and the type of job you do. I'm somewhere in the middle.

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  85. It's funny, but when we were in Vietnam our guide told us that they are supposed to be communist, but actually they are really capitalists also which might be why their country was thriving. I guess I'm not sure of the differences, but I think we should help the poor. I think everybody should have healthcare. Isn't social security a form of socialism? Would everybody want to give that up?

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  86. well- I believe in capitalism and free enterprise...I am fiscally conservative and at the same time I am very liberal re: social issues. I also think the government should BUTT out of minding everyone's business: monitoring emails, phone calls, etc. Enough I say.
    It's no ones business how a person chooses to live- ie abortion rights, death with dignity, being gay, lesbian, gender issues etc
    We are all human and should be allowed equal rights regardless of race, sex, religion and so on..
    I think it's immoral for a CEO to earn exorbitant amounts of money when a low paying employee at the same company cannot live with the wages paid him/her.
    It would be nice if some folks could stop being so damn greedy. As I like to say "You can only water ski behind one yacht at a time."
    Thanks for your blog!

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  87. I lean towards voting capitalist, but living socialist. I'm not convinced it's the government's job to look after all the social ills. They don't do it well. I DO think it's society's job, and that's every one of us as individuals.

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  88. I believe that education and medical care should be free. It is a right to be educated and be taken care of medically. Basic food should also be free or at least easily accessible. But I also believe that we should work hard for what we strive of. There should be an incentive for living comfortably. I guess it all depends on what kind of philosophy we will adopt: should we strive for wealth, individualism, competition, and earning what I work for.... or should we focus more on equality, cooperation, and making sure everyone is well taken care of. Philosophically, I think I lean towards socialism... but practically I am in the middle.

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  89. Great post, Keith...
    I believe in ethics and lack of greed...and peace...where does that put me? :)
    Balance in all things....

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