So, what is socialism?

I’m a fan of the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. I’ll post the entire definition for “socialism” they give:

Definition of SOCIALISM

1
: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2
a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3
: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

Already we’re running into trouble. A major problem with the view of socialism in America is that it is viewed as synonymous with communism, and we all know just how much Americans love communism. You can see that is especially true in the 2nd and 3rd definitions presented, which are much more narrow and ominous than the first.

Here’s the thing, though: “collective ownership” doesn’t necessarily mean governmental ownership, or bureaucrats administering the entire economy through a centralized plan, or that people line up for bread rations. It most simply means that everyone has a right to some share of the wealth of society. I hope you don’t think that sounds especially abhorrent. Consider that you own things, and use services, and you like that. You have a share of the wealth of society now. You want that to continue, right?

Consider that in a capitalist society, anyone can own anything. Sounds good? Another possibility is that some people can own everything, while other people will own nothing. If one group acquires all the money there is no way that anyone else can consume anything. Later on this blog I will try to prove that this is the direction our economy is moving now, and is precisely where it is designed to end.

So you have two competing economic systems; one in which you are guaranteed to have wealth, and one in which you are not. Curiously, it seems most people get this mixed up, and think socialism threatens to take away the results of their work. That’s why the idea of it is reviled, but it is not necessarily true. There are socialist societies where private property exists and hard work has rewards, but where fairness is taken into consideration. That’s the type of socialism I will be advocating.

About American Socialist

History major turned engineer
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