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Is it true that European nations are socialist?

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posted on Jan, 21 2009 @ 08:02 PM
Over here in the USA we believe in the free market and we believe in doing things ourselves. People who I know tell me some good things about what European governments do like paying for their education but they also tell me that they want the government to help with everything. I want to know how much of this is disinformation or how much of it is true. Can some European members help me out? I'm afraid to read about Europe on the internet because I wouldn't know how much of the stuff about Europe is disinformation or not so I would like to hear from people there first.

[edit on 21-1-2009 by Frankidealist35]

posted on Jan, 21 2009 @ 08:23 PM
Im Latinamerican, Studied in Florida but now in France (Im on vacation in latinamerica right now) and I gotta tell u French government pays most of your tuition fees if not all, depends on where you study and Health care is totally free regardless who you are or where you come from. Also there is no such thing as a 'days limit' to be sick.

Now, I saw in this documentary SiCko by Michael Moore, where he shows how do some european countries health system work and most of them is Socialist which isnt a bad thing.

I love the US but I gotta tell you I prefer the European System...

[edit on 21-1-2009 by aNdReSk]

posted on Jan, 21 2009 @ 08:42 PM
Maybe "Social Democratic." Funny how Americans only have terms to describe their own political economic systems, with a few slanted adjectives for countries with dissimilar systems. European countries are now "socialist," news to me. Some European countries even have lower business taxes than the U.S. It just depends on what point of view you have or where your biases come from, to determine whether you'd call this nation or that nation "socialist."

posted on Jan, 21 2009 @ 08:49 PM
Differs, Europe is a collective term for what are in fact quite dissimilar countries. What i can say however, as a Brit, that here at least the most right wing of our main parties: the Conservatives are closer to the Democrats than the Republicans. So I suppose you could say we're generally more liberal/left leaning, although I guess we have some things that you may consider socialist, i.e healthcare and tuition fees etc (well if you're Scottish..). We consider ourselves pretty moderate as a nation compared to France, which is technically more socialist or Italy, which might be said to be more Right wing.

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 03:43 AM
The word "socialist" seems to carry quite a stigma in the US, and I can only put that down to the long running fear of communism.

I think that in Europe (generally) we are more in tune with our societies, and this means we understand that as a society we have an obligation to our weakest members.

We also have an obligation to improve our societies, hence the free schooling and social healthcare.

Socialism is a bit strong for most EU countries, but definitely left leaning and liberal.

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 03:56 AM
Well for the education part here in Holland we have the following system.
For university or 'hbo', you have to pay tuition which is like 1800 euro's a year and books. From the government you get monthly payed like 300 euro if you live on your own. If you live with your parents you get less. Now if you're parents are really poor you get extra. You get this 'salary' for 4-5 years. If you need it for a longer period, the extra years become a loan which you always have to pay back.

The idea is, if you finish your study within 10 years you don't have to pay back the '300 euro's a month'-deal. If you do need to pay it back, they have systems that won't cripple you. You actually have the choice to pay it back over a very long period, 20+ years.

To me it sounds like a smart system, the money they put into you, they'll get back with taxes in the end. So it's a win-win situation.

[edit on 22-1-2009 by mortje]

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 04:10 AM
Firstly, It depends on what you deem socialist to mean (most in the USA seem to associate it with communism, this is a remnant of cold war propaganda) and how much you have been conditioned to disagree with the fact that your tax money should be used for your well being as well as infrastructure etc.
If you think about it, how are you going to make money off an undereducated or sick person. If everyone is undereducated and sick, the government is not receiving revenue in the form of taxes so by using some tax revenue to care for its citizens, a government can stimulate growth.

Secondly, Europe is a big place, the EU has almost 500 million people in 27 states while Europe has almost a billion people so can you be more specific about which countries or are you just generalizing? Each country has different policies btw.

The vast majority of European countries are free market, many have more economic freedoms than the USA, some are more restricted. Many have social policies, many do not.

Remember this fact - people in many European countries pay more taxes to their governments than you almost twice as much i think. But in return, should we need or want it, we get social welfare, free education, free healthcare, free housing etc. Many avail of these offers and request these things while the vast majority do not (except of education).

Its just a different way of doing things, its slightly socialist in a way but not in the way that most Americans seem to think.

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 04:18 AM
Frankidealist, do yourself a favour... Get a passport and a plane ticket and actually go there. It wont kill you.

Over here in the USA we believe in the free market

And Europeans don't believe in free markets ?

...and we believe in doing things ourselves.

After experiencing World War 2 Europeans are more dedicated to personal freedom and liberty than most Americans in my experience. Americans have never had their freedoms taken away from them. In Europe those experiences are just a generation behind most adults.

That does not mean that European societies which care about their poorest members are somehow hell bent on removal of personal liberty. the way you talk sounds quite paranoid.

I don't see how you can judge it without actually experiencing it ?

Just go there and find out for yourself.

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 04:40 AM
I live in Portugal and yeah.. we are a bit of a socialist country.. but we have free market too.. and we have more rights than you do in America (especially after the Patriot Act
).. The main problem, that still holds us back, is that we were 60 years in a dictatorship that promoted poverty and happyness with it as a good thing
.. But close to 30 years after the peacefull revolution, we developed much with a socialist system (believe me, how the country was then, rough capitalism would do more harm then good).. We pay close to 1000 euros per year at university.. lower levels are free of charge (except books).. Education should be free in all countries.. you have to provide incentives do study (believe me, for a 16 years old the temptation to have money..err.. start working
is very high and if education is too expensive the short term benefits dont exceed the costs) to have a highly qualified work force that can create new jobs (preferably) or attract internacional companies to have activity there.. Wages are not too high for the poor educated, but that is to be expected in a free market.. Healthcare is free also, but you have to pay, according to your wage for the consults (but nothing very high, like 3 euros) and for your medicins (most important ones are co-financed by the state although).. Of course is not a perfect system, none is, and the old negatives of socialism are present: the possibilities of people starting relaying to much on the state.. thats true.. but lets not overstate it.. And about the "danger" of the almighty state.. you in america with capitalism and corporatism are closer to it than us

Edited to add: sometimes i feel like i want to leave this country.. but not because of its socialist system.. more because of the lack of civism and trust between people that still exist here (well i guess the years of dictature took its toll).. i would like to go to UK or a country like Finland or Sweden.. but nowehere in my mind is the possibility of go to USA.. go figure why

[edit on 22-1-2009 by Picao84]

[edit on 22-1-2009 by Picao84]

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 04:55 AM
Its tough to come up with a coherent argument on this issue. I think most European countries use a third-way system which blends free market capitalism with socialism. Germany, Switzerland and Austria are the most free-market based systems, the UK is intermediate and Italy, France and the Scandinavian countries are the most socialist.

In essence what you consider to be socialism is the redistribution of public responsibility. In a free market society such as America, each man is responsible for himself. In Europe, the strong are forced to subsidize the weak to different degrees.

Certainly the Netherlands is the most socialist of all European countries, and they have a very pleasant country. Most people are happy and well taken care of... but that is precisely what stops their elite from achieving even higher goals.

Its all about what you want to achieve. If you want the highest fraction of society to be happy, then socialism is indubitably strong. If you want each man to be able to achieve his own potential, then the free market is the way to go.

(I stress that these conclusions are only for developed countries; for developing countries the free market is the only road to prosperity.)

posted on Jan, 22 2009 @ 07:39 AM
Hi. I live in Turkey.
National Education and healtcare system totaly are free.

Recent Turkish Law system is totally secular and a mixture of mainland European countries(Mostly from Switzerland, Germany,France and Italy) law systems.

Every male Turks have to join the army (approximate 1.5 years) but if you graduated from university,you just need 5 months to join the army,if you willing to pay a little money ,you just need 1 months.Also The Turkish Army has 14 million soldiers, and another 8 million on hand who need to review their military training.

College students allways must wear same uniforms.

Our economic system is liberal.

Also my country is not member of EU.France goverment allways says "No Place for Turkey in EU!"=)

posted on Jan, 27 2009 @ 04:38 PM
reply to post by Frankidealist35

Some Socialism is not a bad thing especially when the common man benefit from became a dirty word because our politicians are working
4 the corporations against the people.what's wrong 4 having good health care that's provided by your government & not the Mafia companies.
Watch Michael Moore's "Sicko" to see how good & true is. ry&

Insurance companies scare the people through the paid media & the politicians....what's wrong with good education that produse good and well educated people just like America with one difference,poor people
will be able to give good education th their children just like the rich.

posted on Jan, 27 2009 @ 05:08 PM
can't say i'm entirely sure what a 'socialist' or socialism is anymore. it seems to have acquired negative connotations that i wasn't previously aware of.

i'm also not sure how we (NZ) compare to the US or Europe but here we have:

free education up to the age of 18
free public hospital visits/stays/procedures
subsidized medicine for low income earners
subsidized GP visits for low income earners
free higher education (my province only)
welfare for the unemployed, sick and single parents
benefits and allowances for adult students

a legal drinking age of 18

edited to add: accommodation allowances for low income earners
working for families tax breaks for low income earners

[edit on 27-1-2009 by ll__raine__ll]

posted on Jan, 27 2009 @ 05:18 PM
Western European democracies are definitely more socialist than North America. Britain has had it's socialist traditions eroded since Thatcher. It's on the point of becoming totally North American. Queue poverty...

[edit on 27-1-2009 by rizla]

posted on Jan, 30 2009 @ 02:14 PM
reply to post by mark38

Okay, so all of you get freebies there in Europe.

What happens if all of your systems collapse and the illusion of those free hand outs disappears?

posted on Jan, 30 2009 @ 02:52 PM

Originally posted by Frankidealist35
reply to post by mark38

Okay, so all of you get freebies there in Europe.

What happens if all of your systems collapse and the illusion of those free hand outs disappears?

Why do you keep calling it freebies ?

The only 'social' thing we have here (i'm from Belgium) is our health-care-system. And social means we all pay our share for those who can't afford health-care, or don't have a job.

Random pick of paycheck (oktober 08), i'll give you some numbers :
- in total my boss payed 4.168 because he employs me.
- 768 euro's are going to social security system
- 1390 euro's is what is kept for taxes
- 2010 euro is what i receive netto

Just some numbers, but as you can see i get a little less than half of what the boss actually pays in total.

The social system helps people who do not have a job, they receive some money but they also have to look for a job actively or they get kicked out of the system.

We also have a system called economic-unemployment.
It allows the boss to put us off the job for a while without firing us, so we get funds from a special funding without actually losing our job. When things improve, we just go back to work as usual.

As for being socialists (left) political speaking, nope we are not.
Most european countries have more liberal (right) governments for the last decade.

The term 'social' is used as : the lucky ones pay a share for the good of those who are unlucky.
When you're lucky, and have a job, it is a very expensive system.
But you never know when you run out of luck, and then the system is also there to give you some much needed help.

Sounds strange, but it actually is working....

posted on Jan, 30 2009 @ 03:02 PM
No European country is truly socialist. You have to understand what socialism really is.

Socialism is the collective ownership/control of the means of production and distribution by the workers.

Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of.......

Nationalism is the government ownership of the means of......

As far as I know, I'm British btw, Europe still has the same system you do, capitalism with private ownership, and some nationalised systems such as schools and police. China, Russia and Cuba are not socialist either, and no real socialist alive would advocate a system like theirs.

Social programs are NOT socialism. Similar words but far different meanings. As an aside, I read once in a serious paper against socialism that 'social engineering was socialism' because of the term social, take that as you will. Social just refers to the collective actions of a society, it has nothing to do with socialism as an economic/political system.

Most social problems we have now would be eradicated under socialism, meaning there would be no need for 'social programs'. Social programs are a necessity under capitalism, because capitalism requires a poverty class to keep the economy from going out of control.

If everyone was wealthy then their wealth would become valueless, because capitalism requires a disparity in peoples wealth level to allow exploitation of the market.

If everyone was employed, and jobs easy to obtain, employees would have no motive to stay in one job. So employers would have to pay continually higher wages to keep good workers. This would eventually lead back to unemployment, as companies would not be able to keep up and go bankrupt. A never ending cycle you can't break out of, and as technology replaces people, and the more the economy is miss-managed, the worse it gets.

Those already wealthy have fail safes, and generally prosper during hard times, or just ride it out on what they have. Or get bailed out with corporate welfare. They don't lose their livelihoods, their homes etc.
So in reality social programs, and welfare, are a necessary insurance under capitalism against over inflation.

Also socialism doesn't mean more government, it can in fact be NO government at all. For example 'libertarian socialism' is socialism with no government. Libertarian (no gov) socialism (workers control of their own production). Those two words, used separately and together, have been around long before Marx used it, and Americas 'libertarians' changed it's meaning.

This might be hard to believe, but that's because in the USA especially, political terms that are apposed to the capitalist system are suppressed and demonised by your government and schools and media. Obviously for their own benefit, they don't want to lose their private ownership.

Also Marxism has been sold to you as a blueprint for socialism when in reality it's not. There really is no blueprint, that would be up to the workers, you, themselves to decide what their coolective needs are. Marx just had his own ideas, and not all socialists agree with him, especially on the subject of authority and the state. Socialism traditionally apposes both.

Edited to clean up...

[edit on 1/30/2009 by ANOK]

posted on Jan, 30 2009 @ 07:50 PM
The Europeans have mastered the liberal social welfare state, in whatever form it is currently manifest. Contrary to what you may believe, it is the U.S. that is currently in the lead when it comes to social economic policy, which is what most people associate with when they hear or use the term socialism.

"If everyone was wealthy then their wealth would become valueless, because capitalism requires a disparity in peoples wealth level to allow exploitation of the market."

That is inaccurate. While capitalism requires a disparity in the powers of production, it doesn't specify that people have to be hanging from the bad end of the stick. Wealth is created through education. If there were no human labor market, demand would skyrocket for methods to replace it. It is currently within our technological capability of replacing 100% of the human labor jobs on the planet at this very moment, if for some strange reason all the workers on the planet went simultaneously on strike (for purposes of my argument we would have to be aware of this "future" strike).

Anyway, you're comparing wealth in terms of something akin to dollars, which is misleading. You're thinking something along the lines that if the money supply were to increase, the total value of one dollar in proportion to the whole would decrease. So you apply that notion to a situation where if the supply of wealth increased, the wealth of an individual would essentially inflate. This is reasonable thinking but it has nothing to do with wealth. Capitalism is currently the most equipped to produce wealth, because it provides every individual the means of production through the banishment of traditional, contractual social relationships upon which the successes of all ancient societies were contingent, i.e monarchical, feudal, tribal, even Communist!!! etc.

While disparity might be apparent, I'll attempt to offer you a different way of thinking about it. Imagine if you will that all people lived forever. The first generation ever born is granted intimate knowledge of a vast diversity of arts and sciences at the moment of creation. All the individuals in this society both consume and produce at the exact same rate; they waste zero resources in their production endeavors and they accumulate their rate of accumulation of resources is exactly the same. They put their knowledge to use. By the time they sufficiently develop their products in, let's say, approximately 10 years time, a new generation will have been born and acquired their own skills and knowledge. This second generation would be poorer, in that they would have less purchasing power to attain the items produced by the former generation. After 10 ten generations, assuming one new group is produced every 10 years, those that are currently 100 years old will undoubtedly be in a much greater position of wealth than those that are just born, by approximately 10 times. Just imagine if everyone lived forever, the people that lived the longest, while not assuredly, will have a higher chance of being wealthier (assuming they stick with their studies and research projects). Some very wealthy families today live entirely off of inheritance acquired through individuals that got into commerce at the start of true industrial capitalism in the late 18th century. The most popular of these companies in existence today are probably breweries. Anyway, after a certain amount of time, there should be enough material wealth in society to account for the physical well being of all individuals. Those born in the latest generations should naturally have little purchasing power and little wealth. Fortunately, it can be acquired with an equal level of accessibility after years of patient work and dedication. This is exactly the case of a family today that has emigrated from a poor part of the world today. You can expect, if they work hard, to have accumulated wast wealth over time. Some of the early immigrants who landed in the U.S. during the mass migrations of the 19th century probably have very wealthy, burgeoning families. Eventually, if this pattern continues all people should experience a high level of wealth for human standards, even though those born in the very first generation will be immeasurably richer.

The problem is cramping in all the needs and desires of millions of families, born naked into the viciously competitive post-industrial Capitalist world, and condensing their desires into the span of a life time or perhaps a single generation if they're greedy.

Today, automata and industrial robotics are capable of replacing every single manual labor job on the entire planet. If all the poor starved to death, then there would be no poverty. The middle class would stay exactly the same. Wealth wouldn't decrease overall. It would technically increase per capita. But that's a sad, sadistic joke. The reality is that we do in fact need certain classes of labor, which are utilized in the production of cheap material. However, humans were never meant to do manual labor tasks. Actually they aren't being used as effectively as they could be. These tasks should totally be relegated to machines over time, as education gets better and class boundaries slowly diminish. That is where the disparity is. It's not inherent to Capitalism, nor is it a product of Capitalism. It's inherent to our inability to recognize that by employing people in jobs that do not maximize their creative and intellectual faculties, we are essentially trapped within a perpetually inefficient political economy.

The problem with humans and our exceedingly short life spans is that we want a sufficiently advanced quality of life, when our system isn't currently designed to handle those sort of desires in the time constraint we give it.

[edit on 30-1-2009 by cognoscente]

posted on Jan, 31 2009 @ 09:51 AM

Originally posted by Frankidealist35
reply to post by mark38

Okay, so all of you get freebies there in Europe.

You are missing the point. They are not freebies or handouts.

A large portion of the taxes you pay in most EU countries basically goes to a social insurance policy for everyone instead of towards military development like in the US.

This gives you free education.
Subsidized/free healthcare if you cannot afford it.
Money if you lose your Job.
Social housing if you are down and out
etc etc

So basically, you pay insurance to your government through your taxes which is used for your welfare should you need it. Get it?

Its not free, they are not handouts. You are viewing this very naively from a conditioned anti communist perspective that lumps everything that is not completely free market extreme capitalism into one category and calls it a bad thing.

Think about what the US would be like for the more unfortunate if all the money spent on the military was spent to improve the life of every single person in various ways.

That is what happens in Europe because we spent thousands of years building up militaries and destroying each other. Out of that came this system, its not perfect but it works.

What happens if all of your systems collapse and the illusion of those free hand outs disappears?

The same thing that happens when your country's system collapses.

posted on Jan, 31 2009 @ 05:38 PM
reply to post by Dermo

I see...

Then it really isn't socialism because it isn't free.

So then it's all a lie that Europe gets free stuff?

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