Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Socialism vs Capitalism: What Works Best?

'I guess to make a broader point, so often in the past there’s been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist. And especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate, right? Oh, you know, you’re a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you’re some crazy communist that’s going to take away everybody’s property. And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory — you should just decide what works.'
President Obama was speaking to a group of Argentinian young leaders after his trip to Cuba (where 'socialism' has worked so well (sic) that Cuba is still mired in the 1950's, not the 21st century) when he essentially said there is no substantive difference between socialism and capitalism so 'you young people of Argentina should just pick and choose what works' between the two and 'roll with it' in essence.

Enid, The Church Lady
Well, as The Church Lady would say: 'Isn't that special?'   

That would be all well and good if capitalism and socialism started out with the same moral equivalence and ended up with the same results over history.

They haven't. For the most part.

Take a look at recent quotes from Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov recently:
'Capitalism is the greatest destroyer of poverty in world history and socialism its greatest creator, rivaling war'
'Socialism, where everything is free except you!'
'I'm enjoying the irony of American Sanders supporters lecturing me, a former Soviet citizen, on the glories of Socialism and what it really means! 
Socialism sounds great in speech soundbites and on Facebook, but please keep it there.
In practice, it corrodes not only the economy but the human spirit itself, and the ambition and achievement that made modern capitalism possible and brought billions of people out of poverty
Talking about Socialism is a huge luxury, a luxury that was paid for by the successes of capitalism.
Income inequality is a huge problem, absolutely. But the idea that the solution is more government, more regulation, more debt, and less risk is dangerously absurd'

As with most anything in life, 'talking about' something is usually far different from 'living' or 'actually experiencing' that something, isn't it?

Why would Garry Kasparov know more about the dangers and spirit-sapping emulsification of socialism than, say, President Barack Obama of the United States of America?

Because he lived under the iron rule of the former Soviet Union for 28 years of his life before witnessing the fall of communist rule in Moscow in 1991, which started with the enhanced defense posture of President Ronald Reagan in 1981, resulting in the freedom of millions of Russians and other ethnic citizens from central heavy-handed, non-creative, oppressive,rule.

Kasparov was fortunate; he survived. 60 million to 100 million people were murdered under the Stalinist regime all in the name of making the Soviet Union 'safe' for communism.

No western political leader such as President Obama or Democratic presidential candidate such as Bernie Sanders could ever hope to understand the vast differences between socialism and capitalism until and unless, of course, either of them actually was forced to live under such oppressive regimes as did Mr. Kasparov.

Then both would most likely be singing an entirely different tune.

Granted, America has adopted some federal programs that are ‘socialist’ in nature. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the most prominent federal programs in America that are designed to be a 'shock absorber' of sorts when it comes to providing a social safety net that is designed to be more of a trampoline than a hammock goes the old analogy.

As Kasparov points out, however, even these are paid for by capitalism in one form or another. We make money and pay taxes so these social welfare programs can be funded. Or at least paid for by borrowing with the promise of repayment from taxes paid in the future.

Don’t make the mistake of equating the freedom of capitalism with the spirit-sapping nature of socialism as Garry Kasparov pointed out.

The upcoming election is more than just choosing between personalities or political parties. The fall election is about whether America continues down the path towards more socialism as espoused by President Obama for the past 7 years or whether we head back towards free enterprise capitalism so eloquently advocated by President Ronald Reagan during his 8 years in office.

New jobs net of population growth soared under President Reagan. Not so under President Obama’s two terms as you can see from the following chart.

You get to choose which outcome you want for the next 8 years. Choose wisely.

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