Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Socialism or Capitalism? Why Not Both?

“Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.” - John Maynard Keynes

Capitalism in its present form, isn't working.

Instead it is creating a culture of greed. A culture without compassion, and frankly a culture of stupidity.

The "most wickedest" have somehow convinced society that the debate at a time of record debt and deficits, should be who is wealthy enough to receive tax cuts.

Think about that for a minute, though you won't need a minute to determine, that as a philosophy, it is insane.

You have to pay off a debt, so you decrease your revenue?

The debate should be, who has enough wealth, and doesn't need more? Who should start paying their share? Even the extremely wealthy Warren Buffet is questioning why he is in a lower tax bracket than his housekeeper.

So is Socialism the answer?

Not entirely, but we do need to redefine the notion of the Welfare State. It was not about simply establishing a "welfare" system but creating governments whose primary goal was taking care of the well being of their citizens.

We entrusted them with our tax dollars, in the belief that they would use them for the common good. We didn't want them back necessarily, but expected a reasonable exchange.

Stephen Harper wants to dismantle Canada's Welfare State. He believes in a free market system, but while "free market" sounds like a positive thing, it is not. Originally it defined the removal of price controls, but now entails the removal of all impediments to acquiring wealth, including safety and environmental standards.

Things required to keep us safe.

We will not live better because of it. In fact we are not living better after the removal of price controls.

I remember when an increase in the price of gas made headlines, because often it had remained the same for years. Then Brian Mulroney deregulated the industry and now filling up at the pumps is like playing the stock market.

Can you imagine being in a grocery store and having to rush to the cash to buy that can of peas before it doubles in price?

And the promised prosperity for all, never came. Prices continue to soar while only the wealthy have seen a significant rise in their incomes. The poor continue to get poorer and the middle class has stagnated.

We are recreating the conditions of the Great Depression.
During the 1920s, the market system had not performed anywhere near adequately ... and during the 1930s, it had failed massively. It could not be counted on not to fail again. What happened over the subsequent four decades [of creating the welfare state] cannot be understood without grasping that unemployment was the central structural problem toward which all policies were to be geared. (1)
And when people were working, it created what has often been referred to as the "golden years".

Then Capitalism took over, appealing "to greed instead of idealism", promoting inequality and failing the people. And to many Capitalism is the root cause of war, creating even more strife. (1)

But the Welfare State also became greedy. Election campaigns focused on "gimme, gimme". Outrageous demands and promises began to drain the system. Capitalists wanted lower taxes, consumers were convinced that they also wanted lower taxes, and citizens simply wanted more of everything.

We need a return to a mixed economy, where everyone is treated equally. If corporations want to be thought of as citizens, they need to start acting like citizens, which involves give and take. As it is now, they only take and will continue to take until someone says "enough already"!

"We have nothing left to give you"!

I posted recently on the bailouts of financial institutions in the U.S., and how the money was not used to stimulate the economy, but instead went to feed the beast. Canadian institutions were included in that.

Jim Flaherty bailed them out here, and they still went border crossing for more.

The "most wickedest of men" doing "the most wickedest of things".

Seems to me that neoconservatives who claim to be motivated in part by the fear of communism, might consider the possibility that if they made life bearable for us, we wouldn't need to look elsewhere for help.

Unbridled Capitalism is not the answer. An economy based solely on the notion of the "Free Markets" is not the answer. Lowering taxes is not the answer.

The Welfare State has served us quite well. We just need to make it more sustainable by prioritizing. Healthcare, education, full employment, child welfare, all at the top of the list.

And we need a healthy business sector. Overfeeding it will only create obesity, which is bad for it's health.

And we need a government that will stop wasting our money in an attempt to get re-elected, and instead start doing what they were elected to do.

Focus on the well being of this country's citizens.


1. The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy, By Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, Touchstone, 2002, ISBN: 0-684-82975-4. Pg. 3-4


  1. If only you were in charge, how sweet our world would be.

    p.s Child Welfare? Love that. I will never use just welfare ever again. Perfect.

  2. Spot on Emily! You've nailed it, "We entrusted them with our tax dollars, in the belief that they would use them for the common good. We didn't want them back necessarily, but expected a reasonable exchange."