If you were born in the United States then you most likely depict socialism as a terrible society in which everyone lives in constant depression and oppression. I’m here to tell you that it is quite the opposite.
What is socialism?
There are many ways to define and govern a socialistic society, but they all have a similar objective: to even out the playing field and to provide the basic necessities for all of its citizens. Socialism is also commonly defined as the governmental or public control of certain sectors/industries. In fact, socialism can definitely contain a free market, but the difference would be that all workers would be paid a fair wage, the society would have several services and programs available to the public, and everyone would have equal access to all of the resources required to acquire capital.
The United States is a socialistic democracy whether you would like to admit it or not. Socialist programs we’ve all come to know and love include, but are not limited to, the police force, fire departments, public education, the postal service, the military, and social security. These are socialistic programs because they are made available to all citizens regardless of their current economic status. In a truly capitalistic society these services would only be made available to those who could afford it.
Another socialistic aspect of the current U.S. system is the fact that there is a progressive tax imposed on its citizens. A progressive tax is when someone is taxed proportionally higher the more income they have. Ideally, these tax dollars would be used effectively to help the individuals in the society that need it most or the public as a whole. Regulations imposed on corporations by the government in order to form fair exchanges or reduce negative externalities would also not be found in a truly capitalistic society. It is important to understand that these regulations are typically done for the collective well-being of the people within that society, which is socialistic by its very nature.
As you can see, the United States is far from a pure capitalistic nation, and for good reason. A truly capitalistic society would more heavily exploit the poor, have the impoverished continue into a negative spiral of poverty, and have a greater amount of corruption within the government. So, whether you’re a republican, a democrat, a conservative, or a liberal, you’re a socialist.
So then what’s the problem with our current system?
The problem with our current system is that it is not socialistic enough! Our poverty rate is of the highest in the industrialized nations. The poor still have a clear disadvantage in reaching an ideal economic status. Money is found in disproportionally high amounts to a select few and in disproportionally low amounts to the majority. Workers are not paid proportional to the work they provide. Because workers are not adequately paid, many of them resort to stealing in order to provide for themselves and their family. Certain programs and services, which should be made available to all of the people in the society, are still only available to those who are of higher economic stature. Regulations imposed on political campaign contributions have been removed, allowing for a higher amount of corruption to occur within our government. Also, because money is found so densely within a select few, these individuals have the ability to fund a greater amount of political campaigns that represent their interest as opposed to the interest of the society as a whole. For this reason, if you are in favor of democracy then you must also be in favor of a more just economic society.
What a More Ideal Socialistic Society Should Do
It is no secret that the disparity between the rich and poor is at an all-time high. There are several programs which could be created or more appropriately funded in order to benefit the society as a whole as opposed to a select few. In a more ideal society basic necessities would be met by programs such as a socialized health care system, which allows people to not fall into debt if they become sick. Our current education system is definitely in need of funds and would benefit heavily from the funding. In a more ideal socialistic society each worker would be appropriately compensated according to the labor provided. This means we must lift the minimum wage to a more ideal rate and make sure that it does not fall by periodically adjusting it for inflation. In a more ideal socialistic society the ultra-rich would be taxed more heavily than they currently are now. Certain loopholes in the system would also need to be closed so that each person pays what they actually should be paying. This excess in tax funds would allow the government to hire more workers to perform jobs that a capitalistic market has little to no need for (ecological jobs, jobs pertaining to research in certain sectors, jobs involving the help of those less fortunate, etc.). The hiring by the government, alongside appropriately paid jobs in the free-market, would ideally allow the poverty rate to be extremely close to zero. In a more ideal socialistic society every person would have a home and be appropriately fed. It is absurd to think that there are homeless and hungry people in our society despite having an excess of both homes and food in our nation.
In a more socialistic society there would be a greater focus on top-notch education up through college for everyone, the overall health of the public would be superior through a more ideal form of health care, wages would be appropriate for the labor provided, every wage would be enough to live comfortably, there would be more jobs available through public programs designed to improve the society, and everyone would have basic necessities such as food and shelter.
As you can see, the United States is a moderately socialistic society, but we have not gone far enough. We must continue to reform the economy in order to do the most good for the greatest amount of people. When casting your vote, remember to support the candidate that does the most good for everyone in the society as opposed to those at the top.
Have any objections? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.