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The Socialism Milkshake.

 
MARTIN_UK
 
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MARTIN_UK
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08 April 2021 14:07
 

The Socialism Milkshake.

I’m no expert on this, I have never studied the subject, I’m just really curious, especially curious to hear from you if you are an expert and can explain.

What do you think about Sweden, Denmark… et al? They seem to be some of the safest countries with some of the best standards of living.

Some successful nordic countries have social policy models that are really quite Socialist.
They have a comprehensive welfare state and various levels of collective bargaining within their societies.
But they still have economies which are based on free market capitalism.
Their workforces are quite unionised and a large percentage of the population are employed by the public sector.

What do you think is the correct mixture for a society to function successfully?
Do we see any clear examples from history that have worked?
Do you think Cuba could have succeeded if the USA had not enforced a trade embargo?
Or was it inevitable that human nature and greed would take over and destroy that utopian socialist dream?
A few questions there I know, I don’t mind which one you choose to answer.

What is needed in this milkshake? Is it worth trying to get there?

 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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08 April 2021 17:01
 

I think the answer it “what is the correct mixture?” can be found by analyzing what grounding principles might best enable society to be successful.  A core shift happened in many European countries post-WW2 (though some before) when they stopped asking who deserves access to assistance and instead just made assistance universal.  The UK has its own example of this, the NHS.  By making healthcare universal it helped bring a lot of people out of poverty and improved their ability to be more realized individuals than they previously had been.  The more socialist countries like Sweden, Norway, and Denmark have gone further and implemented government assistance or beneficial rules more universally.  Instead of requiring people to justify their access to a program, or prove their economic worth to have access to useful benefits, these countries made them open or mandatory to all.

Another great example is Germany’s labor laws.  Workers are required to have representation on company boards.  Unions have a lot of protections.  Workers are always invested in the success of their company, because the company is the source of their present job.  By giving them a voice on the company board, a group of stakeholders in the core of the business have a way of ensuring that the company isn’t stripped for parts, downsized and sold off for a quick payout to investors.  Workers want a steady job, not a slot machine payout.

In stark contrast I would point to American republicans last year just a month or two into various lockdowns.  They opined that the cure couldn’t be worse than the disease.  In this case, their argument was that it wasn’t worth temporarily shutting down parts of the economy in order to save lives.  Whereas Germany’s labor rules help ensure that the economy exists to serve the people, republicans were arguing that the people existed to serve the economy.  When economic analysts point to the stock market as the primary indicator of economic prosperity, they are echoing that same sentiment.  Accrual of wealth is the most important thing, with little regard to whether that wealth benefits the majority of people or not.

I am not in favor of a centrally planned economy.  I think diffuse planning helps ensure an economy that is more responsive to changing needs and desires.  I think the core values need to be aligned with creating the most good for the most people, and not the accrual of wealth.

 
Poldano
 
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09 April 2021 03:20
 

I like your post, Weird.

Prevailing opinion in the U.S. is that other people exist to help oneself get rich with minimum effort, and pervades the national belief system. Note that I said, prevailing opinion, not universal opinion or even majority opinion. It prevails because it is held by the political interests holding power and has been held by them for at least a century and a half, and because some of its key tenets have become a core part of the American mythology. These tenets, unrestrained by certain moral considerations, are what make capitalism, in Pope Francis’s opinion, evil in itself. A couple of them are that it is necessary to make a profit in money or power even when helping others, and that the condition of society—which is a collection of individuals and their infrastructure for well-being—is not a necessary concern of any individual.

Martin,

My very general comment on the apparent failure of socialism is that those who seek power tend to use it for their own personal gain, in one way or another, and that this is seldom taken into account by its adherents. On the subject of the apparent failure of socialism in Cuba, I’m not sure that it has actually failed. If success is only measured in GDP compared to the GDP of free-market capitalist countries, then perhaps it has failed. If success is measure according to the physical and mental well-being of the bulk of the population, then perhaps it has actually succeeded. We cannot look to the large numbers of Cuban refugees in Florida as any kind of indicator, because these are a small fraction of the number of Cubans who did not leave. Moreover, if economic conditions are indeed the reason that most of the refugees left the country, as distinguished from lack of economic liberty in particular, then a large portion of the apparent economic failure must be placed on the embargo. What, after all, is the purpose of an embargo but to cause economic hardship in an attempt at political coercion?

[ Edited: 09 April 2021 03:31 by Poldano]
 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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09 April 2021 08:20
 
MARTIN_UK - 08 April 2021 02:07 PM

...
What is needed in this milkshake? Is it worth trying to get there?

Success would be dependent on a culture of egalitarianism where there is a realization that social policies and programs that help others serve everyone by creating a better society.  Lower poverty and crime, educated citizenry, health and longevity, contentment and peace.  Happiness itself, as indicated by surveys where the Scandinavian countries rank highest.  Resulting in better leaders being elected and a higher confidence in government.

 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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09 April 2021 10:40
 
weird buffalo - 08 April 2021 05:01 PM

Whereas Germany’s labor rules help ensure that the economy exists to serve the people, republicans were arguing that the people existed to serve the economy.

That was very well said.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States a year ago, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick got on Tucker Carlson’s show and proclaimed that old people should be willing to die in order to save the economy.

“No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’” But if they had? “If that is the exchange, I’m all in.”

Other conservatives jumped on the bandwagon in agreement.

This is Social Darwinism if I’ve ever seen it.

 
 
MARTIN_UK
 
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MARTIN_UK
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10 April 2021 01:16
 

Some good answers there from all, so thanks for that.

There doesn’t seem to be an argument so far against a society generally based on those socialist values that nordic countries have adopted here so far then?
So where is the most resistance coming from in progressing towards a similar model in other places? Why wouldn’t any country want the wellbeing of all their citizens to be increased?
Or are we talking about greed again?
These seem like simple questions I know, so why aren’t we(I say we meaning the world in general) making better progress?
You see, this is where it gets confusing to me.

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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10 April 2021 11:29
 
MARTIN_UK - 08 April 2021 02:07 PM

The Socialism Milkshake.

What do you think is the correct mixture for a society to function successfully?
...
What is needed in this milkshake? Is it worth trying to get there?

Do you think that there’s one, single “correct mixture” that fits everyone, everywhere for all time? Or are there factors like culture and natural resources that might play a role in determining the “correct mixture” for any given society?

 
 
MARTIN_UK
 
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MARTIN_UK
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10 April 2021 11:36
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 10 April 2021 11:29 AM
MARTIN_UK - 08 April 2021 02:07 PM

The Socialism Milkshake.

What do you think is the correct mixture for a society to function successfully?
...
What is needed in this milkshake? Is it worth trying to get there?

Do you think that there’s one, single “correct mixture” that fits everyone, everywhere for all time? Or are there factors like culture and natural resources that might play a role in determining the “correct mixture” for any given society?

I suppose there must be more than one way, well pointed out. Some will be more successful than others I expect.

 

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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10 April 2021 13:23
 
MARTIN_UK - 10 April 2021 11:36 AM
Antisocialdarwinist - 10 April 2021 11:29 AM
MARTIN_UK - 08 April 2021 02:07 PM

The Socialism Milkshake.

What do you think is the correct mixture for a society to function successfully?
...
What is needed in this milkshake? Is it worth trying to get there?

Do you think that there’s one, single “correct mixture” that fits everyone, everywhere for all time? Or are there factors like culture and natural resources that might play a role in determining the “correct mixture” for any given society?

I suppose there must be more than one way, well pointed out. Some will be more successful than others I expect.

 

And I suppose and expect that for any given society, one particular “way” will be most successful of all. But I’m not convinced that just because it works best in one place, it’ll work best everywhere. What works best in Norway, for example, won’t necessarily work best in Afghanistan—or even the UK, or the US.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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10 April 2021 20:02
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 10 April 2021 01:23 PM
MARTIN_UK - 10 April 2021 11:36 AM
Antisocialdarwinist - 10 April 2021 11:29 AM
MARTIN_UK - 08 April 2021 02:07 PM

The Socialism Milkshake.

What do you think is the correct mixture for a society to function successfully?
...
What is needed in this milkshake? Is it worth trying to get there?

Do you think that there’s one, single “correct mixture” that fits everyone, everywhere for all time? Or are there factors like culture and natural resources that might play a role in determining the “correct mixture” for any given society?

I suppose there must be more than one way, well pointed out. Some will be more successful than others I expect.

 

And I suppose and expect that for any given society, one particular “way” will be most successful of all. But I’m not convinced that just because it works best in one place, it’ll work best everywhere. What works best in Norway, for example, won’t necessarily work best in Afghanistan—or even the UK, or the US.

I agree.  But some mixture is inevitable. Even China understands that.  It is hard to find the right mix in the USA, where we have a multicultural society and a significant portion of the majority whites that hates multiculturalism.

[ Edited: 10 April 2021 20:07 by EN]
 
MARTIN_UK
 
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MARTIN_UK
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11 April 2021 00:34
 
EN - 10 April 2021 08:02 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 10 April 2021 01:23 PM
MARTIN_UK - 10 April 2021 11:36 AM
Antisocialdarwinist - 10 April 2021 11:29 AM
MARTIN_UK - 08 April 2021 02:07 PM

The Socialism Milkshake.

What do you think is the correct mixture for a society to function successfully?
...
What is needed in this milkshake? Is it worth trying to get there?

Do you think that there’s one, single “correct mixture” that fits everyone, everywhere for all time? Or are there factors like culture and natural resources that might play a role in determining the “correct mixture” for any given society?

I suppose there must be more than one way, well pointed out. Some will be more successful than others I expect.

 

And I suppose and expect that for any given society, one particular “way” will be most successful of all. But I’m not convinced that just because it works best in one place, it’ll work best everywhere. What works best in Norway, for example, won’t necessarily work best in Afghanistan—or even the UK, or the US.

I agree.  But some mixture is inevitable. Even China understands that.  It is hard to find the right mix in the USA, where we have a multicultural society and a significant portion of the majority whites that hates multiculturalism.

I’m sure there must be a rudimentary mix that is typically needed across the majority of societies though; even if you are starting with Maslow’s basic hierarchy, you have societies not feeling secure and safe, not having access to medical help and such, and these societies don’t necessarily need to be only third world countries, there are big gaps in the more developed world.

 
MARTIN_UK
 
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MARTIN_UK
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11 April 2021 00:36
 
Jan_CAN - 09 April 2021 08:20 AM
MARTIN_UK - 08 April 2021 02:07 PM

...
What is needed in this milkshake? Is it worth trying to get there?

Success would be dependent on a culture of egalitarianism where there is a realization that social policies and programs that help others serve everyone by creating a better society.  Lower poverty and crime, educated citizenry, health and longevity, contentment and peace.  Happiness itself, as indicated by surveys where the Scandinavian countries rank highest.  Resulting in better leaders being elected and a higher confidence in government.

What Jan just said.

 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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11 April 2021 08:39
 

It doesn’t have to be complicated.  If you as a person, or your society generally values those measures of well being and happiness that the scandanavian countries excel at, you should probably strive toward them.  If you as a person, or your social block does not value those factors that lead to higher self actualization, life satisfaction, and happiness, you probably won’t strive toward them - individually or as a society.

Some people and societies have different values - for a variety of reasons.  And if they are measuring lower on these scales, then perhaps there is room for improvement through societal change and adoption of those differences that correlate to, or cause the increased well being measured in the Scandanavian countries.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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11 April 2021 09:53
 

I agree, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Yes, “some people and societies have different values ...” (Jefe) and there may be “factors like culture and natural resources that might play a role ...” (ASD).  But at the same time, human needs and desires are basically universal – affordable housing, food security, education, health care, child protection.

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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11 April 2021 10:18
 
MARTIN_UK - 10 April 2021 01:16 AM

Some good answers there from all, so thanks for that.

There doesn’t seem to be an argument so far against a society generally based on those socialist values that nordic countries have adopted here so far then?
So where is the most resistance coming from in progressing towards a similar model in other places? Why wouldn’t any country want the wellbeing of all their citizens to be increased?
Or are we talking about greed again?
These seem like simple questions I know, so why aren’t we(I say we meaning the world in general) making better progress?
You see, this is where it gets confusing to me.

Mostly agreed that the values we see in Scandinavia make a lot of sense. A couple of points:

- Capitalism and socialism exist on a continuum, not as two distinct points. So we could say that Scandinavia is closer to the socialism end of the continuum.

- I’ve posted this before, but I think it’s a perspective we should keep in mind. Multimillionaire Nick Hanauer arguing that the rich aren’t job creators, that they can only exist in the long term if we have a financially secure and large middle class, doh!

Hanauer

 
 
Jefe
 
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11 April 2021 10:48
 
icehorse - 11 April 2021 10:18 AM

- I’ve posted this before, but I think it’s a perspective we should keep in mind. Multimillionaire Nick Hanauer arguing that the rich aren’t job creators, that they can only exist in the long term if we have a financially secure and large middle class, doh!

Hanauer

To add to this, a significant portion of wealth generated for the upper tier comes from the consumers of the middle class.  So if we have a robust and healthy middle class, we have a larger source of consumer revenue for companies and corporations that subsist on the money-movement of the middle class. 

Should be common sense.

 
 
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