Monday, March 30, 2009


Defining Basic Terms

Here is the online dictionary's first definition of socialism:

a...system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital,land, etc., in the community as a whole.

The international socialists we call the Communists, like in the former USSR, obviously gave a try to community ownership of everything. It failed spectacularly. The wimpy current European socialism ranges from government ownership of some of the means of production to ownership, through taxation, of most of the gains from the means of production. It is in the process of failing less spectacularly.

Is there a term for when the capitalist still own the means of production but the government controls it? Why yes there is, Virginia, that's called fascism, as was practiced by the national socialists in Italy and Germany in the second quarter of the 20th Century.

I don't think we're really that close to socialism--about as close to true socialism as China is close to capitalism now, our ponzi scheme social security and medicare notwithstanding. Likewise, we are approaching the European type of socialism as our taxes rise, are more progressive and are ever more used for unconstitutional federal charity. Not there yet, however.

OK, so what is buying shares in a financial institution and telling them what the institution can pay its employees? What too is lending money to car makers and then telling them to lose the CEO or merge with a foreign corporation? Isn't that more fascism than socialism? Isn't that government control of the (partially) privately held means of production?

Just askin'?


Internet humorist Jim Treacher said last night on Twitter:

"Remember: The guy who's trying to nationalize industry and start his own youth corps isn't the fascist. That was the previous occupant."
Good one! And it was originally to be a mandatory youth corps at that, much like the Hitlerjugend. Damn, I just violated Godwin's law. Sorry, Sorry. I meant to say Opera Nazionale.
As to your questions, I see that as Capitalism. Those who control the purse strings control the company. Shareholders are the same as a single proprietor, it is just that there are more people involved.

With the government loaning money and ousting the CEO, just look to venture capitalists and private equity funds for a one-to-one comparison.

Fronting the money and then telling the company what to do is at the heart of Capitalism.
Good point, Mike, but government involvement beyond providing regulation and a fair place to try crimes and civil disputes queers the deal. Indeed, it is corruption of the so called free market. As the government's involvement increases other words rightly come into play.
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