posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 10:28 AM
I'm kind of torn on the subject, having lived in both socialist (Germany) and capitalist (US) societies. Both have their up- and downsides.
- In Germany, everyone has health insurance, and no one has to be afraid to die in the gutter if they can't spring for emergency care, or that --
even if they do have money -- daft insurance regulations and excessive medical bills will take them for every penny they have.
- Medical care and drugs are a LOT cheaper. I once did a comparison just for #s and giggles. A US coworker of mine once broke his arm in a
mountain-bike accident, and his surgery and 3-day hospital care cost something like $80,000. A similar treatment in Germany would be about $15,000,
with a 10-day hospital stay and the chief of surgery doing the operation himself. (I don't have the actual numbers anymore, but it was something
along those lines.)
- People in socialist countries (and I'm talking Western/Northern Europe/Canada here, not COMMUNIST countries like Cuba, Russia or China) get a lot
more vacation time, higher wages, and have enough leisure time to pursue their extracurricular interests and hobbies.
- Despite what hardcore capitalists say, many socialist countries are NOT on the verge of total bankruptcy. While the US is truly bankrupt and won't
be able to crawl out from under its national debt, like, ever... countries like Canada, Norway and Germany have much more balanced budgets and are
financially are lot better managed. Norway, for example, actually has a balance surplus, something Americans haven't seen in ages.
- The "system" is much more regulated, taxes are usually much higher. Everyone is insured to the hilt against just about everything that could
possibly happen to a person. Also, with all this regulation and workers' laws, it is incredibly difficult to change occupations -- even for jobs like
retail or working in a bakery, you need several years of on-the-job training as an apprentice before making any money. So it's almost impossible to
just drop your office job and decide to open up a cupcake bakery... it's a rigid system and can feel rather suffocating to people who don't want to
be stuck in one job for the rest of their lives.
- Socialism stifles initiative and creativity. Americans are much more entrepreneurial (or at least used to be; I now see a lot of the unemployed just
sitting there, waiting that exactly the same position they got laid off from shows up and falls into their lap, instead of getting creative and
thinking outside of the box). Even though times have gotten tougher here in the US, it's still possible to just open up your own business with
nothing but an idea and ambition... or to work as a painter today, as a retail clerk tomorrow and a receptionist the next day. You can't do that in a
socialist country. I was always joking with my friends that you need a diploma to clean toilets in Germany, and it's not far from the truth.
So there's good and bad, but personally, I don't think either system is optimal. My private Utopia is a country with no centralized government,
where leadership is on the state or even lower, county or municipal level... and that's it. Below that could be small communities of 100-200 people
living, working and sharing the fruit of their labor. Child rearing and education would be a communal effort, as well as caring for the disabled,
injured and elderly. Lazy bums, though, would not be tolerated -- no one would get to be a welfare queen or king at the expense of all others. If you
did something seriously wrong (e.g., child molesters, violent crime, etc.), you'd be exiled from your community and would have to go fend for
yourself. You would actually know your leaders in person and would be able to chase them out instantly if they turned out to be scoundrels and
For that to work, though, we'd have to go back to the old values -- where your word and handshake still actually meant something... where people
weren't thinking "me, me, me," but how plans and decisions were impacting the whole community... and where it was clear that either everyone would
live together or everyone would die together.