Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ideas and Economic Systems

Is capitalism good or bad? Are corporations raping the planet and exploiting workers? Is socialism really dead? What is the difference between socialism and communism? Was Jesus a communist? I know these questions are tearing the nation apart! (just kidding) I'll focus on the United States but some of my comments will apply to other countries.

First of all let me be clear about this one thing: The United States is not a capitalist country. Maybe I'm being pedantic here, but capitalism is an economic system. Nations are defined by political systems. The United States has a modified capitalist system, called welfare capitalism by social scientists. Many European and Asian countries have the same system.

Communism is not what the Soviet Union had, propaganda aside. They had a socialist economic system and a totalitarian political system (absolute rule by a person or small group) with democratic trappings. True communism is a system where property is held by the group and used for the group's benefit. In socialism the state controls propoerty and uses it for the public good.

And we have plenty of ideas about capitalism, socialism, and communism don't we? Where do the ideas come from? How accurate are they? What functions do they serve? I'll delve into these questions in my next few blogs.

And Happy Turkey Day to you all. Even the ones eating tofurkey :-)


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