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Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

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Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Ivan on Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:43 pm

Andrew Koppelman, professor of law and political science at Northwestern University, has written: “Barack Obama properly belongs in a specific anti-socialist movement on the left, social democracy, which accepts a capitalist economy but demands a strong state to moderate its failures and excesses.”

The concept of social democracy was originally developed by the German politician Eduard Bernstein (1850-1932), who attacked Marxism's emphasis on revolution and claimed that socialism could evolve through parliamentary democracy. Bernstein claimed that a mixed economy of public, co-operative and private enterprise would be necessary for a long period of time under social democratic direction before private enterprise would evolve into co-operative enterprise. (Little did he know about globalisation and multinational corporations!) By the post-World War II period, most social democrats in Europe had abandoned all remaining ideological connection to Marxism.

Social democracy aims to use the state for two central purposes. One is to correct capitalism’s operational failures, where capitalism wastes wealth instead of producing it. The recent global credit crunch is an example: many well-functioning businesses that were competently producing goods and services have been destroyed, in a spreading cycle of depression. Barack Obama introduced stimulus measures and bank bailouts with the aim of stopping this downward spiral.

The second aim of social democracy is for the state to ameliorate the market’s distributive consequences by spreading around the wealth that capitalism produces. This aim is the more controversial, and once provoked Thatcher into describing social democracy as “slow motion socialism”. In the USA, both Bush and McCain showed willingness to act to keep a recession from becoming a depression, but neither had any interest in redistributing wealth.

The right-wing alternative to social democracy is a government that gives the market free rein and does not intervene to ameliorate its systemic or distributive consequences. Under this concept of minimal government, whatever an unregulated market produces is appropriate and acceptable. Those who take this position understand that an unregulated market will produce booms and busts, and will leave some people impoverished. They can live with that, but it’s a heartless view.

Inequality created by free-market capitalism comes at a price. That has to be paid by those who have to take the low paid and very limiting jobs, those who despite hard work will never have enough money to be able to 'choose' anything other than the cheapest and most essential. Those who can never buy the toys and clothes for their children that their friends can who are better off, those who for economic reasons have to squeeze into a small apartment and never have the money to travel anywhere.

That price is also paid by society, and in the end it affects those who believed they have prospered from the inequality. Economic and social inequalities create bitterness, friction and confrontation; people who feel that they are badly treated by society have no reason to be loyal to a society that does not show them any respect. When the Tories had 18 years in power in the UK, crime doubled and Thatcher boasted “there is no such thing as society, only individuals”. The need to constantly compete with others to ensure one’s own welfare creates distrust between people, and the requirement to constantly perform at one’s best to prove one’s value wears down the individual. It’s hard to see that increased market thinking, and all that it has meant with changes in living conditions, has led to greater happiness and satisfaction. On the contrary, reports on worry, stress and psychological problems are increasing, not least among young people.

Social democracy supports a social welfare state based upon publicly funded social welfare. It supports legal entitlements for citizens to universal access to public services such as workers' compensation, universal health care and universal education, and other services such as child care and care for the elderly. Social democracy supports collective bargaining rights for workers and advocates freedom from discrimination based on differences of ability/disability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, language, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

Research has shown that those societies which are the most equal are the least violent. Many of the problems facing the world today, in and between nations, are due to inequality and the tensions this breeds. Upholding the policy of equality and fairness is not just a question of ideology, it is about the necessity to create a more peaceful and stable world. But does social democracy just make capitalism appear more acceptable and a little less unfair than when it’s unrestrained by right-wing governments? Rather than evolving society towards socialism, are social democrats preventing that development by smoothing off the harsher edges of capitalism?
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:51 pm

Does anyone know of a Hippy Commune that was successful?
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by innitmarvellous on Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:23 pm

A hippy commune does not equate to a socialist society. In a hippy commune a small group of people choose to opt out of society and live apart. They do not see it is their aim to improve the lives of others. Socialism's aim is to create a fair and equal societyfor all; run by the people for the people.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by innitmarvellous on Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:25 pm

Social democracy is a step above capitalism but it still does not deal with the problem of inequality. Until the wealth is distributed evenly we will continue to have poverty stricken areas, wars and prejudice.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by ROB on Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:43 pm


Democracy is not an economic system; thus, “social democracy” is a curious term, an economic modifier modifying a non-economic noun.

Social capitalism makes much more sense. This is exactly the state to which your nation and mine have evolved. For example, in America USV, OSHA, a government agency, i.e., a socialist agency, monitors worker safety in capitalist, i.e., for profit, work places, When all pieces of the puzzle fit as designed, you’ve got a pretty picture.

Problems arise when the pieces do not fit as designed. Most capitalists seem to house within themselves a “penny-wise, pound-foolish” mentality, wherein they are so busy chasing today’s bucks that they miss the bigger picture.

Take, for example, the recent debacle in Bangladesh, wherein an American USV clothes manufacturer has implicitly participated in the deaths by burning of “sweat shop” clothing workers who were caught in a Bangladesh clothing factory that manufactures clothes for this particular American company. Now the clothing company and its parent company are getting “bad press” worldwide, and I do not doubt that many consumers are now joining me in boycotting this company’s products. Hit ‘em where they live, hit ‘em where it hurts, their pocketbooks.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Ivan on Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:56 pm

Capitalists are short-sighted and “chase today’s bucks” as they seek to reward their shareholders this year and next and to justify big bonuses for themselves. That’s why they tend to ignore environmental considerations and deny climate change and global warming.

There’s nothing in the least bit curious about the term ‘social democracy’, which has for many years been used to describe a system of government where, it is claimed, socialism can be achieved by democratic means, instead of by revolution. The purpose of this thread is to discuss whether social democracy can ever achieve that aim, or whether it simply does a PR job on capitalism to make it more acceptable to the general populace.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by ROB on Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:42 pm


I seriously doubt that any government can exist without money. Taxation is redistribution of wealth, and tax-funded institutions are based upon a prime axiom of socialism, contribute to as one is able, partake of as one needs.

So to me, discussions of government presuppose the existence of funding for the government being discussed. Governments are tax-funded, so from where these tax funds will come is an absolutely relevant issue.

In my lifetime, the sources from which taxes are derived are based upon capitalism, either (1) direct taxation of capitalist enterprises, (2) taxation of those who earn incomes from capitalist enterprises, either income tax or sales tax, or (3) taxation of property purchased by those who earn incomes from capitalist enterprises. Even tariffs fall indirectly into one of these capitalism-based categories.

This is another reason that, to me, socialist democracy is a curious term. The engine that drives modern society is capitalism. Unchecked, capitalism drives society into destruction (“Sixteen tons, what do you get, another day older, and deeper in debt”). Harnessed by socialism, i.e., concern for one’ fellow humans, capitalism works better than anything else that the world has seen.

Are capitalists myopic? Vey much so. As you’ve said, Ivan, they “chase today’s bucks” and can’t see much of anything beyond about 6:00 PM today (closing time for most capitalist enterprises). That’s why capitalists need to be regulated, and the regulations must have teeth.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:03 pm

The British Heritage bequeathed at the end of World War 2 was intended to redistribute wealth in such a way that nobody need suffer from poverty.
Laws were passed to provide equal access to Health, to a dignified Old Age, and to State aid for those unable to support themselves.

It was unashamed altruism, but destined to founder on the rocks of personal greed.

These days anyone can have the ear of the Prime Minister provided they can donate £250,000 to Party Funds.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by ROB on Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:48 am

oftenwrong wrote:
It was unashamed altruism, but destined to founder on the rocks of personal greed.
 

And therein lies the so far inescapable quagmire of altruism.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:20 pm

The lesson of History is that a Ruling elite can only survive for so long as its excesses are, if only nominally, also available to the masses. (vide Bread and Circuses)
Rulers who move on to reserve everything to themselves do not last very long after reaching that decision.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by ROB on Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:28 pm

oftenwrong wrote:
Rulers who move on to reserve everything to themselves do not last very long after reaching that decision.
 

True. In my lifetime, few have died of natural causes while in power.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by witchfinder on Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:06 am

With Social Democracy comes "humanism"

Pure capitalism dictates that a poor man with no food or money must find work or die.

Socialism dictates that if a man who is poor and has no food or money, then the "haves" in society should help him until he finds work.

I happen to believe that Social Democracy is indeed the best form of governence in the world, the best run nations, and those nations with the best standard of living are all Social Democracies with strong centre-left traditions.

Getting an economy and a society just right is rather like fine tuning a TV or radio, sometimes you get the signal and a picture, but its still not quite right.

Pure socialism or communism does not work, its been proven over and over again, on the other hand capitalism unrestricted, and in its purest form left entirely to market forces is probably worse than communism, neither work.

If there is a line which divides centre left with centre right, then I would say that the line is drawn precisely at the point where belief and conscience puts people first, and thats Social Democracy.

The most sucessful economy of Europe is Germany, the system followed there by both the centre-right CDU and by the centre left SPD is a form of social democracy called the "Social Market Economy".

Yes - hard as it may seem to believe, even the Conservative centre-right CDU headed by Angela Merkel follows a form of Social Democratic economics and policies.

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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Shirina on Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:44 pm

Social democracy only works when the majority of people - both constituents and politicians - believe in it. In America, too many people see it as evil and so any and all attempts at instituting socially democratic policies are met with stiff resistance. As a result, politicians and lawmakers are forced into compromises and concessions that cause those policies to fail or operate inefficiently. Obama's health care bill is a prime example of a socially democratic policy gone awry due to the stonewall resistance of the right-wing. The liberals in this country would love nothing more than for a universal health care system to be put into place, a system whereby your income or your current financial state does not dictate whether you can be healthy. This, of course, is stringently opposed by free-market capitalists and those that follow them, and this archaic system of extreme individualism has created a culture of "every man for himself."

We can turn our gaze to many impoverished nations around the globe and see how culture and tradition has hamstrung these civilizations from lifting themselves out of poverty, oppression, overpopulation, and tyrannical rulership. The exit is there, but culture prevents them from walking through it. We here in America, being part of the richest, most powerful nation in all of human history, fail to understand that our greatness can easily be undermined by our cultural limitations. We think that, because America has obtained such prominence, the things we believe in are infallible, our traditions unchangeable, our way of life immutable. In a rapidly changing world dominated by globalism, a world where America (for the first time in 80 years) has real economic competition, these cultural norms are going to hamstring us into a second-rate standard of living.

Social democracy in America is constantly under attack by the right. Social democracy in the US has only been around since the FDR administration, and it was wildly supported by what we call The Greatest Generation. Everything from minimum wage laws to the GI Bill that helped soldiers returning from WWII to attend college occurred during this era. But six decades of leading the Cold War charge against communism and socialism has eroded support of any policy that even hints at socialism. In this country, "socialism" is a word spoken with a scowl and a spit since two generations of Americans have been taught to revile it in all of its forms. If you support it here, then you may as well speak Russian and have the letters CCCP tattooed on your forehead.

Being against socialism has become a part of our culture - outmoded and obsolete as it is. Now, with the 2010 census showing 48% of Americans living in poverty or scraping by on a low income, it should become quite clear that we need to change our way of thinking. But I fear that will not happen for a very long time, and perhaps when we do finally figure it out, it will be too late by far.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Papaumau on Sun Apr 08, 2012 2:15 pm


As I see it the words "Social" or more-correctly expressed as "Socialism" and "Democracy" are fine together until the word "Capitalism" comes into the mix.

I mean by this that as Socialism and Capitalism are poles apart in guidelines about how to behave as far as humanity is concerned, the two can never exist in the same society and be fair to everyone if they are expressed within the freedoms that democracy allows.

While it is true that it is Capitalism that makes the world go round and even in many previously Communist and still-Communist countries like China the Communist ethic is reserved for the poor while the every-increasing Capitalistic rich in China continue to successfully meld the two without producing any paradoxes.

If we in the rich and Capitalistic West hope that democracy will enforce fairness in our societies we are being very foolish as it is the rich and the privileged that allow democracy to stand here so long as it continues to ensure that they keep the lion's share of the loot and that they can hide this money from being applied against the present very weak taxation rules.

I suppose that so long as we have flawed humans driving this machine we will never see true fairness when it is the same humans that have control over the wealth that really only revolves around the very rich at the top of that Capitalistic tree.

The few times that the rich and privileged ones have been properly put in their place was during Communistic revolutions in Russia and in France and yet once this dust had settled we saw the exact-same iniquities rising once again as the rich took control of the power and Capitalism swept Communism away.

I guess that at the heart of this malaise are the human words of SELFISHNESS & GREED !

I do not think that - at the moment - we humans are capable of behaving in any other way ! Evil or Very Mad

Regards....

Papaumau.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by astra on Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:24 pm

Was it Howard Hughs who said if all the wealth was divided equally among earthlings, in a month there would be differences in social standing and numbers of poor would start to appear. In 2 years we would be back to what we have now.

Is the fault with those who 'give away their money' or, with those who take and pick up every penny that they can get their hands on?
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Phil Hornby on Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:57 pm

There is much in what you say, Mr Astra. Being sensible with whatever cash comes one's way is a path worth taking, and if there are those who fritter it away they have only themselves to blame.

However, all that does not entitle a begrudging group to deny them having the opportunity for wealth in the first place, and the chance not to squander it ...
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by astra on Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:23 pm

Hello Phil, Happy Easter, and don't eat all that chocolate!! You'll come out in spots!! Far Far better to give it to me!! Smile


I should have ended my post-
every penny that they can get their hands on?
by fair means or foul, or outright illegal. (which includes immoral, which describes about 30 parliamentarians right now!!) Twisted Evil
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Phil Hornby on Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:32 pm

Happy Eastra! Very Happy
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by astra on Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:35 pm

Good, I like that.


It's all the grandaughters fault Very Happy , dog and me are being FORCE FED sweets!

(Better that than hard boiled eggs!!)
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Shirina on Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:43 pm

The inherent problem with social democracy is a government or other regulating body telling others when they have enough (or too much) wealth. That seems unfair - after all, did not the wealthy earn every penny? On the outside this argument looks viable and logical. Except it isn't. Yes, it is difficult to draw that line between acceptable and unacceptable volumes of wealth and possession, yet without drawing such a line, the system will invariably destroy itself.

Ultimately, there will be too few people of means to support a national economy; a wealthy person can only drink so much milk or buy so many televisions before there simply isn't enough demand for a product to keep it economically viable. The wealthy will always have what they want since they have the means to hire people to hand-craft a new television or a new car whenever they want one, but the masses will be left without goods on the shelf. The end result is feudalism whereby a small, elite group live in small islands of affluence amid a sea of grinding poverty.

We're seeing the beginnings of it now with major stores closing all over the place. In the US, many retail stores are struggling and many have gone the way of the dinosaur already. There are fewer and fewer choices, and fewer and fewer people are buying.

There is one immutable fact that can't be ignored (although it is). Economics is all in the mind - which is why you do not find the economics department in the maths and sciences area of any university. Prices continue to rise while wages remain stagnant, and that is a recipe for failure. There is no real reason why prices must continue to increase; it is psychology at work, mostly the psychology of fear added to the creation of artificial scarcity. The ability to control the amount of resources available to the public in order to keep prices (and profits) high is a mainstay of capitalism. Even common items can fetch enormous prices if such an item is withheld and only small amounts are trickled into the marketplace.

Capitalism will fail when there is not a strong middle class to support it; if the majority of people are poor and can only afford life's basics, then capitalism is doomed. Those who support free-market capitalism seem unable or unwilling to grasp this simple yet important concept. Instead, they support the idea that the redistribution of wealth should only flow from bottom to top, which is the case right now. Once most of the wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, the only way the few can continue reaping profit is for the few to begin lending its money back to the masses. However, if this is done with high interest, it hamstrings even this concession. Eventually the masses become so deep in debt that, once again, they must discontinue buying and the majority of disposable income is being spent to pay down debt. The interest generated from this debt only ensures that even more wealth ends up in the hands of the few until another period of economic stagnation begins.

This is where we are at right now. As the middle class shrinks and the wealth disparity continues to widen, there is only one direction to go: down. This is what happens when we, as a society, feel that it is somehow good and right that CEO bonuses and stockholder dividends are more important than ensuring there is a market for their goods and services.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Papaumau on Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:53 pm



Yes, I know that it is true that whenever any disparate group start off with the same amount of wealth, eventually there will always finish up being an imbalance in who has become even more rich and who has become poor while using or losing that money. That again is a trait of human nature.

That is why we have laws and police to enforce these laws in order to try to protect the weak and the foolish from themselves and others that would rob them.

All that aside I still think that the Capitalists - who have most of the control over who gets and who holds the lion's share of this supposedly-circulating money - do have an unfair advantage that comes along with holding and using that wealth.

( A well known fact of life in Britain: "Seventy percent of the total wealth in this country is in the hands of thirty percent of the people and the seventy percent of the people that are left hold thirty percent of the wealth that is left !" ).

Although I am an unashamed middle-of-the-road Socialist, I nevertheless do not believe in the existing wealth being artificially shared around the whole of the population as that is blatantly unfair to those that worked hard and wheeled and dealed cleverly in order to amass those riches.

This is where fair and accurate and well-designed and enforced taxation comes into play.

Sadly - as I just said above - as the rich have most of the control over the making and the enforcing of the laws of the land there very quickly develops an iniquitous situation where they are able to either legally avoid paying their share of the tax or illegally evade paying it. The rest of us do not have this advantage as we cannot afford to pay the hard-line and clever accountants and as a result we pay an inordinately large percentage of our income into the government coffers.

THAT, my friends, is how the Capitalist cookie crumbles !

Regards.....

Papaumau.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Shirina on Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:57 pm

Although I am an unashamed middle-of-the-road Socialist, I nevertheless do not believe in the existing wealth being artificially shared around the whole of the population as that is blatantly unfair to those that worked hard and wheeled and dealed cleverly in order to amass those riches.

In the United States, management on average earns around 450 times what the average worker makes. When I say "management," I'm not suggesting that a manager at McDonald's makes 450 times more than a burger flipper, but I think you all know what I mean.

Now, I agree that wealth should not be spread equally among everyone. There would be no incentive to take on the tough jobs ... why be a doctor or a structural engineer when I can work in a nice cushy library putting books on the shelf for the same pay? No, there does have to be greater compensation for jobs that require a greater degree of education, requirements, and responsibility.

The problem is that free-market capitalists believe that the sky's the limit - that everyone is entitled to however much they can squeeze out of the system. Therefore, we have this HUGE disparity between upper level (executive) management and the workers/middle management. No other industrialized country even comes close to the 450 multiplier that America possesses, giving it the third highest wealth disparity outside of the Third World. Only Brazil and Mexico have higher rates of inequality.

The question which should be asked (and often isn't) is: Do executives work 450 times more hours than workers? Are executives 450 times more educated? Do executives work 450 times harder? Of course not ... so are they really EARNING all of that extra pay? As I've said, executives should be paid more than the workers, but how much more? At what point is pay no longer earned, instead becoming merely a product of corporate culture and tradition - a sort of "symbolic" salary? The CEO of Disney makes $22,000 per hour ... that's right, per HOUR. Can this kind of nonsense truly be justified when the people with boots on the ground - those that actually work in the theme parks - make minimum wage AND have to buy their own uniforms?

Can a business justify giving an executive $500,000 of company money so he can remodel his mansion? Can a business justify paying the first class airfare of an executive so he can fly back and forth between NYC and LA every single business day - simply because he didn't want to move and take his son out of school? Can a business justify giving a CEO $47 million of taxpayer money as a separation package after said CEO bankrupted the company?

My view of socialism is that everyone who works - and everyone who can't work due to a disability - is entitled to get at least one piece of pizza. No one should be left with half-eaten crust, crumbs, stray pepperoni slices, and grease stains simply because the rich get to eat until full before anyone else is allowed to be fed. Capitalists, of course, do not believe that yet historical precedent proves them wrong.

In their view, if you're struggling to make ends meet, you should better yourself somehow, and earn more pay. Except everyone can't be a doctor, an engineer, or a business tycoon. Someone has to take out the garbage and keep the floors clean. Someone has to take your order, clean the tables, and cook the food. Someone has to drive the taxis, dig the ditches, and work the assembly lines. Without the workers in the factories, the truck drivers, the mechanics, and the warehouse employees, there would BE no business. The relationship between worker and executive is a symbiotic one, and while a worker can be more easily replaced than an executive, that does not mean the position itself is less valuable to the company than a CEO. Yet the huge salary gap does not reflect this as it should.

Not everyone is capable of being top dog, and not everyone wishes to be. America was never more prosperous when a man with nothing more than a high school diploma could walk down to the local factory, get hired, and earn a solid middle class wage. You didn't need a college education to provide a comfortable living for your family - and you could do so on only one salary if so desired. What a difference that makes when raising children!

As the rich gobble up ever increasing amounts of available wealth and resources, the "everyman" jobs are disappearing, the jobs that kept a consumer-driven economy healthy and the citizens comfortable. The rich are playing a dangerous game now, however. As long as people could expect to make a reasonable living, no one really cared about what the rich were doing. But the quest for ever-bigger piles of cash, the rich are now starting to reach down to the middle and working classes to confiscate what they have, as well. Once people can no longer be comfortable because of artificial scarcity, planned obsolescence, and run-away interest rates on personal loans - all so the rich can acquire even more wealth - the people will begin to stir. We saw the beginnings of it with the Occupy Wall Street movement ... but that was ONLY the beginning.

Things are liable to heat up in the good ol' USA within the next 20 to 50 years, and that will destabilize the entire world. I predict we will have our own version of Arab Spring. I would suggest being ready for it when it happens, because I feel it is inevitable at this point.

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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:39 pm

Perhaps it's time to return to Square One.

All "property" represents theft from the common pot.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by ROB on Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:47 pm

oftenwrong wrote:
All "property" represents theft from the common pot.
 

Not according to John Locke, as exposited in The Second Treatise of Civil Government 1690. Read if you so desire:


"Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others."
The Second Treatise of Civil Government 1690. John Locke 1632-1704. Chapter V. Of Property.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Papaumau on Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:52 pm


Yes Shirina.... There has to be both chiefs AND indians if the Capitalist economies of the world are to work properly.

Both of our countries and - many more - work very hard at ensuring that the largest percentage of our kids get to university and eventually get out onto the streets with a degree. The problem here in Britain is that now that our manufacturing base has been decimated by the cheap goods produced by slave-wage workers in the tiger economies there are now not enough jobs for university graduates never mind people who leave school at sixteen.

When I left day school at sixteen I walked into a job the next day and that apprenticeship as a joiner made me into one of the many artisans that actually do the building. Now we see very few real apprenticeships or even real unskilled or semi-skilled jobs for the "indians" out there and the few jobs that are available for the "chiefs" that come out of university cannot ensure that all of them finish up with jobs that suit their qualifications.

At this point - at least in Britain - we see many highly-qualified graduates also competing for the few jobs in the burger-chains and more and more of the ordinary people find themselves out on the streets getting into trouble because they hate the system that surrounds them.

( incidentally, it is a well known fact that in very prosperous India the call-centres that are taking the service jobs away from us in the West are filled by Indian university graduates ).

If something is not done about this situation very soon the incidences of riots on the streets of our once fairly rich societies will continue until it will only be the very rich in their gated communities and the very poor living on the streets from hand to mouth - and nothing in between - that will be left to run our Capitalistic world.

Regards....

Papaumau.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by ROB on Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:16 am

Papaumau wrote:
( incidentally, it is a well known fact that in very prosperous India the call-centres that are taking the service jobs away from us in the West are filled by Indian university graduates ).
 

List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article includes three lists of countries by gross domestic product at purchasing power parity per capita, the value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given year divided by the average (or mid-year) population for the same year.

International Monetary Fund (2010-11)

Rank, Country, Intl. $, Year
1.   Qatar, $102,943, 2011
2.   Luxembourg, $80,119, 2011
3.   Singapore, $59,711, 2011
4.   Norway, $53,471, 2011
-----------------------------------
6.   United States, $48,387, 2011
7.   United Arab Emirates, $48,158, 2011
8.   Switzerland, $43,370, 2011
9.   Netherlands, $42,183, 2011
10.  Austria, $41,822, 2011
-----------------------------------
12.  Canada, $40,541, 2011
13.  Sweden, $40,394, 2011
14.  Australia, $40,234, 2011
15.  Ireland, $39,639, 2011
16.  Iceland, $38,061, 2011
17.  Germany, $37,897, 2011
18.  Belgium, $37,737, 2011
-----------------------------------
20.  Denmark, $37,152, 2011
21.  Finland, $36,236, 2011
22.  United Kingdom, $36,090, 2011
-----------------------------------
129. India, $3,694, 2011

Full article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Papaumau on Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:00 pm


Yeah Rock, those figures do not surprise me one bit !

I think it is hard to compare like-for-like in any such list as each of those countries has differing numbers of manufacturing workers earning VERY differing amounts of money.

The comparison of GDP of these countries is a very hard one to make as the slave-wage tiger economies of India and China, and a few more in the far East, do not actually create much - in your hand - wealth as their goods are so terribly cheap that even although they are producing many more "widgets" per-capita, each of those widgets produced and exported are done so at such very low cost to the Western buyers, the true GDP can not, as a result, even be measured correctly.

Another manifestation of this kind of manufacturing process is that in these countries there is only a very small and well-off middle-class as the wealth that is created by the slave-wage workers only serves to create a very rich top-end a fairly well off and small middle and a very poor and very large-in-numbers bottom end.

Eventually these tiger-economy countries usually find that once the slave-trade workers acquire emancipation and their wages rise in order to allow them to be able to buy their own goods - that up to that moment had almost all been exported - we find that they will also start to have the same negative balance of payments trade problems that we are suffering under at the moment.

As a Socialist I also firmly believe that just because any country of the world is said to be "wealthy", this does not mean that this wealth is in the hands of any more people than the few super-rich ones at the very top of that Capitalist tree.

Regards....

Papa.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Shirina on Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:36 pm



This is a map showing the wealth disparity among all of the world's nations. Europe is doing pretty good, including UK.

America is not. In fact, Russia and China, which shows up as the same color as the USA, actually have a lower wealth disparity than the USA. In terms of actual numbers, the USA has a rating of .45 whereas China's rating is .41 and Russia's rating is .42.

The rest of the nations that are equal or higher are just a hodge-podge of Third World nations, most of which exist in grinding poverty. No other Western nation even comes close to our disparity, nor do any truly industrialized or advanced nation no matter if they are Western.

The only thing keeping America afloat right now is the (misguided) belief in the "American Dream," but as more Americans sink into poverty and low-wage limbo, fewer people are going to believe in it. Future generations, including those in elementary and high school right now, will find their standard of living significantly lower than that of their parents or grandparents. Even inheritance of middle-class estates is no longer a sure bet as reverse mortgages are gaining popularity among the elderly to offset the failure of America's businesses to provide adequate pensions (we do not call our retirees "pensioners" for a reason!). A reverse mortgage, for those who aren't aware, is when a bank buys your home and property and makes payments to you in the same way you made payments to the bank when you first bought the place. Upon the property owner's death, the estate goes to the bank, not to the heirs. With Americans having to fend for themselves regarding retirement, and with Social Security and Medicare only providing a percentage of health care costs, more seniors are resorting to selling their properties back to the bank to sustain them through old age rather than willing their assets to their children.

Thus these future generations - indeed even current generations - are finding their wages gutted by student loans, health insurance, and saving for retirement. This is in addition to soaring rent, utility costs, gas prices, and just about everything else. Meanwhile, wages have remained relatively stagnant for at least 30 years while the gains of the upper class continue to be phenomenal. It's only a matter of time before this system breaks down. We are not a society used to being poor and having no realistic hope for a better future. We won't tolerate it, especially when we look around at stores filled wall to wall with food, houses everywhere, etc. but denied to us through accident of birth.

As I've said before, Occupy Wall Street was a peaceful shot across the bow. Instead of heeding that warning, right-wingers have done nothing but ridicule and debase them, but they do so at their own peril, and at the peril of the nation and, indeed, the entire world.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by ROB on Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:18 pm

Shirina wrote:
This is a map showing the wealth disparity among all of the world's nations. Europe is doing pretty good, including UK.

America is not. In fact, Russia and China, which shows up as the same color as the USA, actually have a lower wealth disparity than the USA. In terms of actual numbers, the USA has a rating of .45 whereas China's rating is .41 and Russia's rating is .42.
 

Median household income
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The median household income is commonly used to generate data about geographic areas and divides households into two equal segments with the first half of households earning less than the median household income and the other half earning more.

International statistics

Median household income for selected countries is shown in the table below. The data for each country has been converted to U.S. dollars using purchasing power parity (PPP) (obtained from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).[4]

This is what each equivalent adult in a household in the middle of the income distribution earns in a year.

Data are in United States dollars at current prices and current PPPs for the reference year.

Rank Country 2007
1.  Luxembourg $34,407
2.  United States $31,111
3.  Norway $31,011
4.  Iceland $28,166
5.  Australia $26,915
6.  Switzerland $26,844
7.  Canada $25,363
8.  United Kingdom $25,168
9.  Ireland $24,677
10. Austria $24,114
11. Netherlands $24,024
12. Sweden $22,889
13. Denmark $22,461
14. Belgium $21,532
15. Germany $21,241
16. Finland $20,875
17. New Zealand $20,679
18. France $19,615
----------------------------
----------------------------
21. Slovenia $18,860
22. Spain $18,391
23. Italy $16,866
24  Greece 15,758


Full article:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_household_income

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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:52 pm

Students of British history already know that cracks were beginning to appear in the facade of the British Empire even as Queen Victoria, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India, was laid to rest in 1902. Her successor, Edward VII had spent so much of his life waiting to inherit that he had forgotten just what it was he had been waiting for (fast-forward to QEII's little boy Charles.) The Royal Families of Britain and Germany were indistinguishable - all being cousins of each other - so when The Great War erupted George V had to quickly stop thinking of himself as Saxe-Coburg Hohenzollern and adopt the soubriquet "Windsor" which remains.


WW2 finished the German connection, and also the British Empire, producing a vacuum in World Power politics which the USA was more than happy to fill by exporting the "American way of Life" as the American way of Conspicuous Consumption. Regrettably this also carried the missionary overtones which had sowed the seeds of British failure, stressing a "right" way of living that was inextricably based on "Christianity". A philosophy that did not receive universal acceptance. To the extent that members of other religions felt obliged to post a message on 9-11 that spelt "Leave us alone".

History is still debating whether that message was received.

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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by ROB on Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:54 pm

Shirina wrote:
This is a map showing the wealth disparity among all of the world's nations. Europe is doing pretty good, including UK.

America is not. In fact, Russia and China, which shows up as the same color as the USA, actually have a lower wealth disparity than the USA. In terms of actual numbers, the USA has a rating of .45 whereas China's rating is .41 and Russia's rating is .42.
 

Household income
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Median equivalized disposable household income (PPP) $
Median household income divides households in a country or region into two equal segments with the first half of households earning less than the median household income and the other half earning more. It is considered by many statisticians to be a better indicator than the mean household income as it is not dramatically affected by unusually high or low values."[13]

Rank, Country, Median Income (PPP)
1.  United States $26,672
2.  Switzerland $23,962
3.  Norway $23,794
4.  Canada $23,144
5.  Austria $22,622
6.  Denmark $21,437
7.  United Kingdom $21,408
8.  Netherlands $20,337
9.  Germany $20,337
10. Sweden $19,736
11. Belgium $19,284
--------------------------------
13. France $17,984
14. Australia $17,764
--------------------------------
16. Spain $15,633
17. Italy $14,689
18. Poland $6,104

Full article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_household_income

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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Shirina on Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:10 pm

United States $26,672

Average cost of health insurance per year: $13,375 (LINK)

$26,672 -
$13,375
________
$13,297


Average cost of utilities in the US per year: $2,472 (LINK)

$13,297 -
$2,472
________
$10,825

Average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment outside of the city (per year): $8,328 (Link same as above)

$10,825 -
$8,328
________
$2,497

Average amount of disposable income per month: $2,497/12 = $208

So, $208 to buy food, gasoline, car insurance, entertainment, internet access, cell phone service, clothing, vehicle maintenance and repair, credit card/student loan debt, and always-needed odds and ends (toiletries, hygiene products, cleaning products, etc.)

About where on this list above do you think the average family find themselves in the red?
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by astra on Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:17 pm

No cat food in that list Shirina??


Tiddles will be MOST upset!! Twisted Evil
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Shirina on Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:21 pm

No cat food in that list Shirina??

LOL! On $26k per year, I might have to EAT Tiddles! cat
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by ROB on Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:59 pm

RockOnBrother wrote:
Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?
by RockOnBrother on 19 Apr 2012 - 19:54

Median equivalized disposable household income (PPP) $

Rank, Country, Median Income (PPP)
1.  United States $26,672
--------------------------------
7.  United Kingdom $21,408

Full article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_household_income

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Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: disposable income

Portion of an individual's income over which the recipient has complete discretion. To assess disposable income, it is necessary to determine total income, including not only wages and salaries, interest and dividend payments, and business profits, but also transfer income such as social-security benefits, pensions, and alimony. Obligatory payments, including personal income taxes and compulsory social-insurance contributions, must be subtracted. Disposable income may be used for consumption or saving.

Full article: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/165882/disposable-income
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by witchfinder on Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:56 pm

"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" ( Mark Twain )

There are so many statistics and measures dealing with the richest nations, happiest nations, best nations to live in for whatever reason, that its a complete minefield, and we could argue all day about it.

Most Americans I guess would probably prefer to live in the United States, and I am fairly sure that most Brits would not like to live anywhere other than Britain, but surely the main reason is because its what your used to.

Some people however choose to move to another country for various reasons, sometimes believing there are better prospects, a better climate, for family reasons, for political reasons, for a better life-style or for work / employment reasons.

There are many people residing in the United States who were born in Britain, but a more lesser known fact is the large number of Americans who choose to live in Britain.

Research indicates that the one of the deciding factors for Brits living in the US is climate, one of the most popular destinations been Florida, whilst one of the deciding factors for the 190,000 British residents born in the US is health care.

For me personaly - I realy could not live in the United States, I would miss so much - decent beer, old buildings, the shipping forecast, chicken vindaloo, the yorkshire moors and the 2 daves who sit in the corner of the bar moaning about everything.

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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:57 pm

The purpose of Supermarket loyalty-cards is to remove all possible doubt as to whether the holder is (a) overweight and (b) alcoholic.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Shirina on Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:53 am

Taken from your link:

Average household income can be used as an indicator for the monetary well-being of a country's citizens. Mean or median net household income, after taxes and mandatory contributions, are good indicators of standard of living, because they include only disposable income and acknowledge people sharing accommodation benefit from pooling at least some of their living costs.

In this case the $26k is only the money left over after taxes and mandatory contributions, NOT after all basic living expenses have been paid.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by Shirina on Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:56 am

The purpose of Supermarket loyalty-cards is to remove all possible doubt as to whether the holder is (a) overweight and (b) alcoholic.

I have said many times that, sooner or later, health insurers will get a hold of data generated by loyalty cards. That way, if you develop cancer 30 years from now, they can analyze all of the foods you've eaten and refuse to cover your illness if you failed to walk the straight-and-narrow dietary restrictions that they would place upon you.
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Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?

Post by ROB on Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:54 am

Shirina wrote:
Taken from your link:

“Average household income can be used as an indicator for the monetary well-being of a country's citizens. Mean or median net household income, after taxes and mandatory contributions, are good indicators of standard of living, because they include only disposable income and acknowledge people sharing accommodation benefit from pooling at least some of their living costs” (text italicized by Rock).

In this case the $26k is only the money left over after taxes and mandatory contributions, NOT after all basic living expenses have been paid.
 

“…household income…”

RockOnBrother wrote:
Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable
by RockOnBrother on 19 Apr 2012 - 20:59

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: disposable income

Disposable income may be used for consumption or saving.

Full article: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/165882/disposable-income
 

“… Disposable income…”

RockOnBrother wrote:
Re: Is social democracy the best system of government, or does it just make capitalism appear acceptable?
by RockOnBrother on 19 Apr 2012 - 19:54

Median equivalized disposable household income (PPP) $

Rank, Country, Median Income (PPP)
1.  United States $26,672
--------------------------------
7.  United Kingdom $21,408

Full article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_household_income
 

“Median equivalized disposable household income (PPP) $”
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