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.