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CAPITALISM, SOCIALISM, OR A MIX?

August 16, 2018

CAPITALISM, SOCIALISM, OR A MIX?

Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect, my favorite political magazine, after reading an analysis by the Financial Times, wrote that approval of socialism was up by ten percent among American Democrats and stood at sixteen percent even among American Republicans. He attributes this significant statistic to the Trump-Ryan giveaway of $1.5 trillion dollar to the already rich last December and a chump change increase in tax relief for workers which, predictably, has since been eaten up by inflation so that workers have in fact suffered a loss in real wages. It so happens that I wrote a response to a blogging professor a few weeks ago on this same topic and arrived at a similar conclusion as Meyerson though I was unaware of the statistics the Financial Times subsequently provided which served as the basis for his essay. The following, slightly edited, was my response to the professor’s blog.

I recently wrote a blog asking if capitalism as presently practiced is worth saving, noting that I was hanging on to the fleeting hope that it could still work if reformed to meet the needs and wants of all its participants. As such participation in the wealth and income of our present-day economy for all the actors (other than the financiers) is evaporating, we can expect hues and cries for other forms of economic organization, but I am not sure that they would work, either.

Millennials are not afraid of the word socialism and are moving in that direction to counteract the corrupt amalgamation of politics and money in our current economy where corporate profits are at record highs while wages as adjusted for inflation are below what they were prior to the Trump-Ryan giveaway tax act to the already rich last December. While outrageous and debt-numbing, I don’t think that’s enough to chuck our existing  economic organization for a new one – not yet.

We can change politics this November and see if that puts an end to this unholy alliance by moving back to New Deal days or their substantial equivalent when there was no wage inequality and when median-measured wages and the Dow moved in tandem, or we can continue to give away the store to only one of the participants as we are now doing, and make a decision then.

I note in passing that there are many examples of corrupt giveaways to the favored in socialist countries as well as capitalist and mixed socialist-capitalist countries (see Russian oligarchs) and question whether a mere change in economic organization is the way to go for the common good or whether a change in political personnel can and will do the trick. Let’s not jump off the economic cliff just yet (as the numbers given by the Financial Times suggest) but rather vote Democratic this fall and see if we can save our now-skewed mix of capitalism and socialism from worse versions of either. Our democracy may well depend upon our choice of personnel so let’s vote for change in November.     GERALD        E

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