Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Ownership and Social Insurance Societies

The contrast between the right and left is as sharp as it has ever been right now. The right stands an Ownership Society (aka capitalism). The left stands for a social insurance society, or put more briefly, socialism.

The Ownership Society believes that what you earn is yours, and belongs to you only. A man's resources are his own, and the government has no right to take it for anything other than what is absolutely necessary for government to function.

The individual does not have a legal obligation to provide for the less fortunate. If someone experiences misfortune, they are, for the most part, on their own. (Even the most die-hard capitalist usually advocates some degree help for only the most underprivileged). It is a philosophy that rewards hard work and success, but punishes laziness and failure.

The social insurance advocate's cry is "we're all in this together". They view someone with more than enough for himself as someone with a legal obligation to provide food, shelter, and resources for the needy. A rich man owes the society he exists in. The flow of money is not based on supply and demand, it is based on the needs of society.
Fairness in the allocation of resources is valued above all else. The Utopian society is one in which everybody has a equal share of resources. In business, everyone would play with a level playing field. There would be no monster Wal-Marts crushing all competition under its merciless heel. Everyone would have a nearly equal share of the economy.
Social insurance people argue that in a capitalist society, there is a mad race to the top that results in very good living conditions for the rich, but abysmal ones for the poor. As the wealthy get their claws on more and more pieces of the pie, the lot of the poor grows worse and worse. In the end, the only ones to benefit from this society are the select ranks of rich, supported on the backs of the working poor.

The United States is probably the world's largest bastion of capitalism. And the results are: the social insurance folks are right when they say that there is widespread poverty. The poverty rate is 12.3 percent. The United States does have more poverty than many socialist states.

So are the socialists right about the economic path the U.S. should follow? No. They ignore the fact that the U.S. has a standard of living higher than any country in the world. Our gross domestic product is larger than that of any other country in the world. We consume a larger share of the earth's resources than any other country, sure sign of widespread prosperity. (And maybe greed, too. But definitely prosperity). Sales of expensive and luxurious electronic equipment are sky-high. Those who live in the United State live amid a greater profusion than any other society in the history of the world.

Socialism has few success stories, as vicious dictators tend to take over and kill off any dissent, and then proceed to manage the economy for their own interests. However, there are some successful socialist states. Sweden was long the prime example of a welfare state that could get things done.

Sweden provides socialized medicine, education, and insurance. The government runs virtually everything. Swedes pay the highest tax rates in the world, and in return the government completely controls the economy.

So how does it work? The Swedes, for a long time, did get a fairly high living standard (although nothing like that of the United States). Swedish industry wasn't exactly rocking the world (the United States and Japan seem to develop most of the more advanced products), but it was adequate. Crime was relatively low. The system seemed to work.

Until the problems entrenched in socialism caught up with it. Crime (fueled by high immigration rates) is skyrocketing. Swedish defense is a joke. The number of troops in training is between 5,000 and 10,000.

And the famous Swedish welfare? That, at least, should be providing good service, right? After all, most of what the people earn goes into the government coffers. On the contrary, it is being radically downsized- with no lessening of the tax burden. As the immigration population of Sweden continues to grow, it is probable- no, inevitable- that the welfare state as they know it will not exist.

As the Left's demand for global "economic justice"? The Gross Domestic Product for the whole world was divided evenly and fairly among the world's approximately six billion people, everyone would get the princely sum of 8,040 US dollars. Instead to some the people living in misery, everyone would live in misery. Some improvement.

It seems clear the capitalism as represented by the United States is the best economic choice. However, the Left in this country wants to end it, and replace it with the system seen in Sweden, France, or England. While doubtless all of those countries are pleasant enough places to live, ask yourself: is anyone fighting to get in there, as they are here?


At September 27, 2007 at 3:00 PM , Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Great Post :-)

I was just argueing with someone that I have grown wrather fond of my money and I dont feel like parting with it to support those who have no Personel Responsibility.

Thank's for visiting my blog.

Mind if I link?

At September 27, 2007 at 4:14 PM , Blogger Daniel Ruwe said...

No, please do. Thanks for the visit.

At September 27, 2007 at 7:09 PM , Blogger Erik said...

Daniel -

Nobody uses the term socialism as you do here except other free market worshipers. It occurs to me that you're angry, but at nobody in particular. I mean can you point to someone in the US that is making the arguments you set up to knock down?

At September 27, 2007 at 7:51 PM , Blogger Daniel Ruwe said...

Erik, everything I write here has been advocated by liberals. Ask Barack Obama or John Edwards if they admire Sweden's welfare system. Get them started on economic "fairness". Who is making the arguements I am knocking down. Virtually the whole Democratic party.

At September 28, 2007 at 5:55 AM , Blogger Beth said...

Of course libs won't use the term "socialism" because they don't want people to realize that is exactly what their plans will result in.

At September 28, 2007 at 1:23 PM , Blogger Erik said...

Dan -

If you could provide a quote or two to back up your contentions. I'm not following the pres primaries vgery closely yet, so I'm somewhat out of the loop. Thanks.

Which presidential candidates advocate a policy goal where "Everyone would have a nearly equal share of the economy."?

Same thing - if you could pull a quote or link to a speech where a candidate argues for "The Gross Domestic Product for the whole world [being] divided evenly and fairly among the world's approximately six billion people."

Who, specifically, views everyone "with more than enough for himself as someone with a legal obligation to provide food, shelter, and resources for the needy."

At September 28, 2007 at 1:24 PM , Blogger Erik said...

Beth -

What does it matter who uses the word if they refuse to define what5 they mean by it?

At September 28, 2007 at 7:09 PM , Blogger Beth said...

Socialism is dangerous, whether you call it that or not, so it does matter who is saying things that show they want to bring our country towards socialism, especially when those someones are running for POTUS.

At September 28, 2007 at 10:43 PM , Blogger Erik said...

The reason I asked you at your blog and here what you and Daniel mean when you say "socialism" is because you are using the word in an unconventional way, yet you seem to know what each other mean by it.

For instance, is the dependent child tax credit "socialistic" because it redistributes wealth away from childless taxpayers towards those raising a family?

Is allowing failed entrepreneurs to write off business losses against income "dangerous" because it encourages failure and redistributes wealth from successful enterprises towards unsuccessful ones?

Our primary and secondary education markets are completely socialized in the dictionary sense of the word, but I know that you, Beth, are very proud your public schools and libraries.

So I think theres a lot of contradiction when you issue ablanket condemnation of "socialism", which makes me suspect you're using the word as a unspecific pejorative that you apply to government use of your taxes that gets your greed meter popping.

At September 29, 2007 at 1:53 AM , Blogger Beth said...

Our schools and our libraries are not run by our city government so they are not socialized systems. The taxes that pay for both our schools and library are voted on by we the citizens of our city, so we do have a voice in how much they receive, socialism does not allow for that. These are great examples of how having things managed at the local level is better than at the federal level.

btw, I do not believe in corporate welfare.

At September 29, 2007 at 10:22 AM , Blogger Daniel Ruwe said...

Erik, no one proposes equally sharing the world's resources. My point is, that there isn't enough right now to go around, and the only the real poor will get prosperity is if they get it themsevles. Funds from richer countries won't go around.

Welfare, by definition, is the legal obligation of the rich to help the poor.

At September 29, 2007 at 10:23 AM , Blogger Daniel Ruwe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At September 29, 2007 at 9:57 PM , Blogger Erik said...


If noone proposes equally sharing the world's resources why try to make a point there isn't enough right now to go around?

Why do you respond one day that everything you write of in the OP is something liberals currently have on the table and the next admit that nobody is proposing such things? Are you trying to be a fairer-minded Ann Coulter?

At September 29, 2007 at 10:08 PM , Blogger Erik said...

Beth -

You say, "Our schools and our libraries are not run by our city government so they are not socialized systems."

I think the "not" in there was an error, but even so, your comment makes no sense. A Socialized institution means one that is planned by government. There's nations with smaller populations than your school district: at what level of government a market is socialized doesn't change the fact that it is indeed a socialized institution. Further your school district is subject to the centralized planning on both the state and federal levels: primary and secondary education in the US is indeed a textbook example of a centrally planned market.

Nomatter how good it makes you feel to vote yes or no on city and county levies, your school system still must answer to both your state and federal government.

At September 30, 2007 at 6:24 PM , Blogger Daniel Ruwe said...

Erik, most of the Dem presidential candidate haven't endorsed economic equality explicity. However, many prominent liberals have endorsed something very close. Michael Moore suggests that we are too greedy in his books. Many have noted how much of the worlds resources we consume (which is a critism of our wealth, and implies that resources should be spread "fairly"). John Grisham isn't a pundit, but he is a leftist (he recently called Bush "evil"), and The Street Lawyer was all about economic "inequality".

At September 30, 2007 at 7:47 PM , Blogger Beth said...

The various school districts are not directly run by the federal government. The feds may set standards and give grants (which I think is stupid, btw) but they do not plan what each school does. Thank God, so we can have some students excelling.

btw, Erik, how do you define a "free market worshiper"? Just wondering, since I am not familiar with that term. Thanks.

At October 1, 2007 at 6:40 AM , Blogger Beth said...

Anyway, if I were willing to concede that our public education system is socialistic, then you would have to admit that it proves that a government run system is not doing a very good job. We have a great school system where I live, but I know that is not a universal statement. Do you think a government run health care system will somehow magically figure out how to run properly so as to make a great system for all?

At October 1, 2007 at 6:47 AM , Blogger Spoticus said...

I think I'm going to have to go middle of the road here.

There are some "socialized" necessities set up in our government like libraries and public schools as mentioned that are of course one hundred percent necessary.

At the same time, the free market is (or at the very least it ought to be) at the root of both our economy and economic ideals as American citizens.

The problem is people who take advantage of the system one way or the other.
Too many people on welfare creates generations of people without a sense of economic responsibility. Too few restrictions on the free market creates monopolies that hurt economic and inventive growth (*cough* Microsoft).

The key is both a logical balance.

At October 1, 2007 at 6:53 AM , Blogger Spoticus said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At October 1, 2007 at 6:55 AM , Blogger Spoticus said...

(I deleted the previous post because of a spelling problem...these things really need an Edit button...)

Actually Beth, I would attribute the difficiencies in our public school systems to an error on the capitalist side, not the socialist side.

Some areas have more money than others, and so they can afford to spend more...that's not socialist.

It's a socialized system with a capitalist bent...nothing's ever black and white, and nothing is perfect, including capitalism (and don't get me wrong, I'm a huge supporter of capitalism).

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