Monday, October 20, 2008

well for better or worse, I'm on facebook now and notes on socialism

and so far its been pretty cool, though it is taking a lot of my time.

here's something I wrote on my facebook, I may go ahead and import this blog

Socialism in the US
Today at 11:51am
I ranted about this the other day at the forum. It was one of my better extemporaneous efforts, I think.
I think Obama and the Dems should embrace the label, making a clear distinction between socialism and totalitarianism, of course, the two are clearly not the same thing. Looking at history, we find that there have been a few times when the economy has tanked thanks to excessive greed and corruption by those at the top. The response (correction) was some sort of "socialist" thing, whether it be banning child labor, the 8 hour day, the right to organize, and more government regulation. Indeed, society's response to capitalism run amok is socialism. We've had at least 28 consecutive years of capitalism run amok, (I'm referring to Reagan as a recent reference point and include the Clinton years) Now is the time for the pendulum to swing back and hopefully stay back.
Every economy in the world, including ours, is a mixed economy, mixed with elements of capitalism and socialism. We still have things like Social Security and Medicare and federally funded education, things that wouldn't exist in a purely capitalist world. But I don't see anyone raising a stink about those programs being socialist.

Indeed, most of the G7 nations have more and stronger elements of socialism and yet, they're still in the rich kids club. Imagine that.

Socialism is not a dirty word, and I for one am a proud socialist. I agree with Obama, I am my brother's keeper, the individual tragedies that happen everyday matter to me and the most effective way I can help is to join with others who recognize the role OUR government can play in improving everyone's life. I do what I can on an individual level, but as someone more eloquent than I said, and I paraphrase, government does for all of us, what no one can do by themselves. Of course, I realize that the current government has been bought and paid for by corporate (capitalist) interests and there is much corruption and inefficiency that needs to be addressed. I don't enjoy bureaucratic red tape as much as anyone else.

but, we're trying to have a decent society people, I believe this is what the conservatives fail to grasp. They still cling to that outdated and never really accurate notion that its every person for him/herself.

Ultimately, however, we all need to face up to the fact that yes, the US has been a de facto empire and like all empires before us, we feel like we're special, chosen by God or whatever, and like all empires before us, will rise and inevitably, invariably will fall. The challenge then, for ordinary folk, is how to survive and indeed, grow and evolve into a better society.

My good friend Jomo says that we don't even have to raise taxes on the rich, we just have to reprioritize spending away from wasteful military projects and focus it on the people. I think he's right, but I also think the rich haven't been paying their fair share. You have to invest in your society to maintain the conditions that allow for people to get rich. If the gap between rich and poor gets even more excessive than it currently is (hard to imagine, I know) history again shows that a threshold will be reached and heads will roll. It won't be pretty. I guess that's why investment capital has been flowing into private security faster than renewable energy (the #2 sector receiving investment).

okay, I'm done for now. bottom line: socialism is good and necessary now, despite what the haters would have you believe.

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