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August 25, 2018

Professor Sheila Kennedy’s blog today is based on Krugman’s observation in one of his columns that some right wing writer has catalogued all the evils of socialism in Denmark and how badly things are going there when the fact is that Denmark with its social democratic form of government is doing well with its mixed form of socialism and market capitalism and in a recent poll was named among the first five countries in the world in a most happy people index. Virtually every country these days mixes socialism with capitalism; the argument is how much of either is to be added to the mix. European social democracy relies on government to deliver services to people while here the mix is tilted in favor of the rich and corporate class and the rest of us are largely left to fend for ourselves. Professor Kennedy asked for comment on her blog and the following, slightly edited, was mine.


I have read Krugman’s response to the snakepit job on Denmark done by a right wing writer, and here note that the rich and corporate class and their ownership of the media have done a good job in demonizing “socialism” as something evil, but any “ism” (including capitalism) can be evil if it is employed to grotesquely favor one sector in the economy over all others, which is what we have done in giving away trillions to the rich and corporate class at the expense of the other sectors who are being driven into poverty to pay for Republican largesse to their superrich campaign contributors. I have been to Denmark, Norway, Sweden and am not surprised that these three Nordic countries are in the first five of countries whose inhabitants are (per a recent poll) the happiest. They are happy because, among other positives, their governments actually look to the wants and needs of all their people and fashions legislation (especially tax legislation) to achieve such ends, something we have not done since even vestiges of the New Deal with its progressive taxation began to erode with Powell’s infamous memo to a vice president of the American Chamber of Commerce in 1971 and which ushered in Reagan and his drastic tax cuts for the rich while curtailing social services for the rest of us, a policy stance Danes would not understand.

Right wing propaganda in this country (financed by the favored rich and corporate class) is totally anti-government (except when tax breaks and less rules and regs are up for grabs) and that class has their lackeys tell us twenty five hours a day that socialism is bad and next door to communism, ignoring the history of how communists and socialists detest one another. The truth is that any “ism” can be good or bad depending upon how it is practiced in a particular time and place. I recently wrote a blog in which I discussed “isms” and how to measure them and came to the conclusion that even capitalism can work if appropriately regulated and taxed, but concluded that capitalism as now practiced in this country may not be worth saving since it is not really capitalism as commonly understood but rather, as one commentator noted, “socialism for the rich and brutal capitalism for the rest of us.”

I think we are seeing a move to socialism among the millennials who have managed to resist the daily corporate propaganda about the wonders of capitalism as currently practiced, though personally, I am clinging to the fleeting notion that capitalism, if drastically reformed to meet the wants and needs of all, can be saved, though perhaps unfortunately, it appears that the superrich have decided to self-destruct with their oblivious and lemming-like trek over the economic cliff while instructing their media outlets to label people such as me socialists, communists, et al.

They are wrong; I am rather trying to save the country from economic mayhem which will result from such a change in “isms,” frequently writing that I am trying to save capitalism, if the capitalists will let me – but we shall see. The next ten years with millennials coming of age to vote at the rate of four million each election should be interesting. I hope change and/or reform (if any) of our present system can be accommodated without undue civil commotion, but I’m taking no bets. Greed and its continuation are not likely to surrender their favored status without a fight, and perhaps a messy one.      GERALD       E


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