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What is socialism?

From:  "felicity"

what is socialism?

KJ:  Socialism is half-assed communism. Sort of like Zima compared to MGD, or western family compared to Coke for you underaged viewers. Its what cuba has for a government.

TB sent us this link: 

Try here:
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=socialism

amrshalakanidr responded with this: 

generally speaking...it refers to that system of governing where the efforts of both the private and public sectors are aimed at the welfare of the majority of the people...it's main differences with communism is that 1)it includes a private sector and 2)it aims at serving a very big spectrum in the population while communism is simply the dictatorship of the working class.....That what would u find in a book...but realistically speaking......some free market states claim themselves as being social eg) France and some very tough communist states claim the same thing eg) north korea...as u can see it's a very stretchable word!

Todd graciously sent us this: 

Socialism is any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.

Midknight rattled off this: 

Socialism is the form of government that involves the government having complete control over industries such as medical, dental, automobiles, agriculture...etc... in some cases it has succeeded but only in hand with democracy.

Mr Obvious helped out with this: 

Socialism, n. - 1. Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.
2. The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved.

Edwin wrote this report: 

Socialism is a government system that is basically equivalent to communism - it is a system of government in which everything is communally owned and the state controls the flow of resources - for a formal definition, here's one from an Economics textbook:
A system of economic organization in which (1) the ownership and control of the basic means of production rest with the state, and (2) resource allocation is determined by centralized planning rather than by market forces
Now, this idea sounds very nice, but it is horrible at organizing economic activity and has been shown to be horrible over and over again. The idea is that a centralized organization can sufficiently control a country's distribution of resources to its people. Economics shows that this system is actually quite bad. This is true for a number of reasons (sorry for the econ lingo in my explanation):
1. A government CANNOT sufficiently distribute resources to its people, there is just TOO MUCH to do - think about it like this, in America there are 280 million people and EVERY DAY THERE ARE BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS OF TRANSACTIONS AMONG THESE PEOPLE. - in short THERE IS JUST NO WAY AN ORGANIZATION CAN ECONOMICALLY TAKE CARE OF ITS PEOPLE ALL ON ITS OWN.
2. In socialist systems there absolutely no reason to work as the government evenly distributes everything. Why should I work hard at my job when the government is going to give me what I need anyway? And so what results is everyone puts minimal effort into their job.
3. A FREE MARKET is the best way to organize economic activity. A free market brings maximum economic efficiency and creates the maximum consumer and producer surplus. A free market naturally reaches an equilibrium. Free markets in general are guided to maximum efficiency by what we might call an "invisible hand." A free market stimulates competition, which makes producers optimize their businesses to produce more of their product, better products, and lower prices. And the list of arguments for a free market goes on and on.
4. Socialist systems need to use factories so large that they reach diseconomies of scale.
Socialists and communists and anarchists will tell you all about "the plight of the working man" and all that bullshit, but these people don't know economics. If you ever hear someone talking about the economy, ask them if they've ever taken a course in economics. I myself am taking a college-level course in economics and am very skilled at the science. These socialist and communist dumbasses act like its the end of the world just because someone loses their job or is poor. What they don't understand is that POVERTY AND UNEMPLOYMENT IS INDEED A GREAT CONCERN, BUT THERE IS A BETTER WAY TO DEAL WITH IT.
The fact of the matter is that Economics shows capitalism, i.e. free markets (everyone is free to trade and do business), is the best way to organize an economy for any goal, whether you want to minimize poverty or promote equity or increase living standards.
Lets not also forget that ECONOMICS IS A SCIENCE AS MUCH AS PHYSICS OR CHEMISTRY IS. IF YOU WANT TO REACH SOME SORT OF GOAL USING ECONOMIC POLICY, THEN AN ECONOMIST IS THE PERSON TO TALK TO. Economics basically proves that free markets is the best way to organize economic activity.
And the fact of the matter is that not only does economics prove this in its principles, but THROUGHOUT HISTORY, THE MORE COUNTRIES LEFT THEIR MARKETS ALONE, THE GREATER THEY PROSPERED. This is the grand insight that Adam Smith realizes in his "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" which he published in 1776. By far the greatest example that shows that free markets are the best way to organize economic activity is America. America isn't the richest country in the world because it has great resources or it conquered peoples or whatever stupid thing an idiot socialist/communist/anarchist would say - America is the richest country because we have always maintained a very free market, and the fact that we are the freest people is also a cause of our wealth, as oppressing people and minorities only crushes the human spirit and prevents ingenuity and business.
Think of a free market like a natural ecosystem. Sure, everybody (or every animal, in the case of ecosystems) fends for themselves and acts in their own interests, which you might call "selfish" or "wrong" if you're shortsighted, but it is BECAUSE OF THIS SELF-INTEREST that THE SYSTEM NATURALLY REACHES A BALANCE AND EVERYONE GETS WHAT THEY NEED. And yes in an ecosystem some get eaten, but in a free market people are trading, not eating each other, so the analogy doesn't count.
Please, always use your head and try to think rationally and without intense emotion; don't listen to socialists or communists or anarchists - certainly there are problems in the world but there is an intelligent and effective way to deal with them, and that is by using the science of economics. Take a course in economics or read an economics textbook as soon as you can - I recommend the book "Principles of Economics" by N. Gregory Mankiw.
Socialists and anarchists and communists have their stupid "beliefs" because they get super-pissed about everything but they don't know economics and thus don't have the insight to come up with a proper solution.
As a matter of fact, people have died because of society's fail to use economics. In the early 1990s the government found out that it was buying the material for its uniforms from child labor sweatshops in other countries. The government and people in general were mad and said they should prevent wal-mart from doing so. Economists, having the knowledge and general lack of utter stupidity that they do, pointed out that if wal-mart was made to stop buying from the factories, the workers would go from barely surviving on a tiny paycheck to dying because of no paycheck. Surely enough, wal-mart was required to stop buying their cloth from these sweatshops (they don't own the sweatshops, they buy the cloth from them), and surely enough all these people were barely surviving started dropping like flies because they couldn't make money anymore. A lot of the children even had to turn to prostitution to try to get money for food. And all because everybody is too much of a dumbass dip! shit to use economics. I mean what's wrong with people? why the hell doesn't anyone consult economists for economic issues? We consult engineers for engineering issues and lawyers for law issues, so why the hell don't economists for economic issues?
Also on the whole sweatshop thing: If anything, companies like Nike are morally obligated to keep buying their materials from the overseas sweatshops. First of all, they're BUYING MATERIALS from the factories, THEY DON'T OWN THE FACTORIES SO THEY CANNOT RAISE THE WORKERS' SALARIES. second of all, the workers are barely surviving on their meager wages, and IF NIKE AND OTHER COMPANIES STOPPED BUYING FROM THESE SWEATSHOPS, THE WORKERS WOULD LOSE THEIR JOBS AND STOP MAKING MONEY AND MANY WOULD DIE AS A RESULT.
You see, a little simple economics turns you from a dangerous idiot whose "policies" cause so much damage that they even kill innocent sweatshop workers into a reasonable, rationally-thinking person.
Though I'm sure some dumbass is going to protest what I wrote - and to those dumbasses - did you read what I wrote? I care about the workers too, but there's nothing Nike can do, they don't own the factories so they can't increase the wages, and if they stopped buying from said factories hundreds of the workers would die for lack of food because the factories would shut down and they would have no more salaries and wouldn't be able to buy food

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