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Define Socialism

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

Define Socialism

Socialism has new wind in its sails. Americans under the age of thirty appear to believe that Socialism is just as good a system as Capitalism. What is Socialism?

Socialism is a fundamental reconstruction of society as to make economics an affair of government, so as to organize society with the goal of social equality. Surely, the lofty goals of Social Justice and Equality sound great on the surface. Many Socialists fervently believe in these goals, without regard as to how they can be achieved, merely convinced that they must be achieved, regardless of the cost.

But Socialism means the abolition of private enterprise, of private ownership over the means of production, and the creation of a centrally planned economy in which an entrepreneur working for a profit is replaced by a government planning body.

To achieve Social Justice, the redistribution of income can only be accomplished by governmental control of economic activity—known as collectivism. Everything that is true of collectivism is true of Socialism. Central Planning is necessary to realize redistribution. Examples in the United States include the National Planning Board founded by FDR in 1934; the Social Security System; and the Full Employment Act of 1946.





How Socialism Works

Socialism is a Utopian scheme closely related to Communism. Both are Collectivism. Karl Marx viewed Socialism as a transitional phase between Capitalism and Communism, with Socialism used to destroy the foundations of inequality produced by Capitalism before full-blown Communism is established.

Lenin defined himself as a Socialist until he seized power in Russia, after which he was a self-described Communist. Each person in such a society would provide the commonweal according to their ability; and each person will be supplied according to their needs.

Socialism is a system in which ownership of assets, and the control over the means of production, are taken from the people and given to the government. The central governmental authority takes over the economic affairs of society from the private sphere.

Socialism is a class movement that seeks to abolish class differences. Every Socialist wishes to revolutionize society economically. Socialism is inimical to democracy, but a brother of trade unionism. It seeks to abolish injustice and inequality; and transform the attitudes of all classes.

Socialism requires a central planning board to decide how much work each person will do at what occupation. A true believer convinces himself that he will be happy in any circumstances just to know he lives in a Socialist society, as if Socialist bread will taste sweeter than Capitalist bread simply because it is Socialist bread—even if they found mice in it.

Socialism would do away with taxes. Since those in charge would control all revenue there will be no need to ask for anything from the citizenry, other than their labor and obedience. Socialism might even work if God ran it with the help of his angels. But men are not angels. An effective manager in a Socialist economy is a dictator over other men, not a boss of men, and the temptation will be great for men holding such power.

Productivity, product per man-hour, always goes way down in a system based on Socialism. Authoritarian group discipline will be required to keep bread on the table. One problem under any economic system is what to do with the 25% of people who are and will continue to be underperformers, due to moral or volitional defects.




Social and economic inequality means inequality of possessions. Socialism aims to ban private property and eliminate individualism. Many nations have tried to put this theory into practice, with enormous consequences.

Socialism, Communism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism, all come from the same set of ideas; ideas about freedom yielding to centrally planned economy. No one explains where ceding this power to a central government leads better than George Orwell in his incredible book 1984.

Radical Socialists are for violence, revolution, terror, and dictatorship. Moderate Socialists figure they can wrest control of society by degrees, and gradually erase class distinctions.

All socialists are disciples of Karl Marx, whether they know it or not. And most place Socialism above the observance of democratic procedure. Socialists are not above forcing upon the citizenry that which they do not want, since they obviously don’t know what’s good for them. This is, of course, is anti-democratic.



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Socialist Strategy

Many Socialists are aware that they need to adopt the forms of democracy without the substance in order to be victorious over a reluctant populace. If it serves their immediate interests, espousing and pledging allegiance to democracy provides excellent cover for what they are really up to.

The first Socialists who rose to power in fact called their party the German Social Democrats, as a matter of prudence. They mastered the art of flattering the masses while crushing opponents—in the name of the people.

The Swedish hybrid model is not workable in many nations. Sweden has an exceptionally well-balanced social structure, and well, Swedes.

Socialists might not abolish the vote entirely once in power. Stalin allowed voting. For instance, this was on the ballot one year: “The Russian people in unconditional devotion to the party of Stalin, the great leader, accept the program of the grand works which has been sketched in that most sublime document of our epoch, the report of comrade Stalin, in order to fulfill it unwaveringly. Our Bolshevik Party enters, under the leadership of the genius of that great Stalin, a new phase of development.”

Now, admittedly one could only vote “yes” or “no” and the vote was taken publicly so everyone knew, including the secret police, if you were with the program.




Let us disabuse those with the notion that Socialism is a Christian idea. Jesus urged His followers to give of what they have to the poor, especially widows and orphans (and other believers). He never said that governments should take your possessions and give them to someone else.

Utopia is the name of a book written in 1516 by Thomas More. It describes a society in which private wealth and money has been abolished, while citizens wear identical clothes and live in identical houses. Such societies were established on a small scale in the following centuries, but all were short-lived due to freeloaders who didn’t produce anything but drained resources from the community.

Johann Holderlin said, “What has always made the state a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven.



Communist Manifesto

Karl Marx first called himself a Socialist. In 1847 he decided this moniker was too respectable and adopted the term Communist.

According to Marx, Capitalism led to the misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, and exploitation of the masses. He formed a union, the International Workingmen’s Association, in 1864 to destroy Capitalism and institute Socialism, by confiscating the assets of Capitalists.

Virtually all of Marx’s predictions proved to be wrong. For instance, it was not through trade unions but through radical politicians such as Vladimir Lenin and Adolph Hitler that Socialism would be implemented.

Socialism is a counterfeit religion—a system of ultimate ends that represents the meaning of life to the believer; and guide to the salvation of those ends. Socialism promises paradise on this side of the grave. It seems to offer deliverance to those who feel disadvantaged by the meritocracy of Capitalism.

Marx taught his followers that it was good to profess faith in Democracy until their political power became great enough to drop the pretence. He also preached that they could best takeover during periods of high unemployment or depression, and that in fact, they should hope for, and perhaps even quietly work for, these calamities to happen, so that they might seize power.

The Communist Manifesto lists the immediate goals of Socialism: Free education; loose voting regulations; a progressive income tax to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor; abolishment of private property; nationalization of banking and transportation; and mandatory volunteer service for all citizens.

But Marx also felt compelled to state the obvious about the system he was against, “The bourgeoisie [Capitalism] has been the first to show what man’s activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, or Gothic cathedrals. The bourgeoisie draws all nations into civilization. It has created enormous cities and thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together.”

The evolution of Capitalism with its free market caused the evolution of democratic freedoms. It apparently never occurred to Marx that our freedom might disappear along with the abolition of free market Capitalism.



Define Socialism

In 1917, Lenin said, “The whole of society will become a single office and a single factory with equality of work and equality of pay.”

In 1937, Leon Trotsky said, “In a country where the sole employer is the state, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: he who does not work shall not eat [from the Bible], has been replaced by a new one: he who does not obey shall not eat.”

Socialists in Germany and Italy first put into practice the ideas that they should decide all activities of the individual from the cradle to the grave, to guide his views on everything, to make all problems questions that only they should answer. The general position and income of each person should be decided by the state. Only as a member of a group capable of influencing those who exercised the coercive powers of the state could a person maintain or improve his position.

The Socialists were favored at first by clerks, typists, teachers, tradesmen, petty officials, and the lower ranks of the professions—until they saw the system in action. These Socialists became known as Nazis and Fascists.

My sources for this article include Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy by Joseph Schumpeter; The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek; and Communism by Richard Pipes.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 31, 2019:

Brad Masters ~ I believe it is a sinister movement, as are all left-wing, socialist, atheist movements.

Brad on March 29, 2019:


Yes, and if they try to fix it, it will be like a when a plane loses control and starts to spin. As you know, the plane is trying to right itself as the pilot tries to bring it under control, but a pilot can over correct and make it worse.

That is what I envision for the climate changers.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 29, 2019:

Brad Masters ~ Right you are. The weather is not predicted much better than flipping a coin so how in the world should we disrupt our entire country because of someone's weather prediction 100 years out?

Brad on March 27, 2019:


Here is something simple for the climate changers.

Who is going to financially profit, as you mention about the Paris Accord?

And when you can't even with today's super computers and centuries of data on weather can't accurately predict weather, then don't try to change something you don't completely understand.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 27, 2019:

Brad Masters ~ I certainly hope so. Thank you for the encouragement. I sincerely appreciate you reading my work.

Brad on March 25, 2019:


Keep these articles coming, who knows some one on the left may see the light:)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 25, 2019:

Brad Masters ~ I agree with your definition, my friend. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Brad on March 23, 2019:


I already gave my definition on one of your other articles to Leslie.

Socialism is when the government runs the people.

I know there is a lot more details but they all add up to Socialism.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 28, 2018:

Jack Lee ~ Thank you for reading my article and for your astute analysis. I could not agree with you more. Well put!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 28, 2018:

Alan ~ Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I very much appreciate your kind compliments and thoughtful comments. Well said.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 28, 2018:

Pharmc917 ~ I appreciate your insights.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 28, 2018:

Iakovos Alhadeff ~ Thank you for your comments. I really like the way you put that. Well done.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on July 05, 2017:

Very good article. All you have to understand the problem with socialism is to look at Venezuela today. They have destroyed a nation with oil riches and reduced it to a 3rd world country with chaos and starvation and violence in the streets...

Alan from San Diego on October 08, 2015:

Very concisely, well written article... While I detected a bit of a bias, you do raise legitimate concerns regarding certain aspects of it; can the economy really safely be overhauled in such a manner, while managing to maintain elements of a functional democracy? It's true that support for alternative systems has been rising in my generation, and while I certainly sympathize with certain elements of Socialism, I can't help but feel a little wary. All past applications of the ideal resulted in things far from utopia, even without the lens of a cold war era bias.

Pharmc917 on March 31, 2014:

fkcekfb interesting fkcekfb! fkcekfb good!

Iakovos Alhadeff on March 30, 2014:

From what I know, and I am not a specialist, communism is a political system. The economic system of this political system is socialism i.e. communism is a political system, and socialism is an economic system. Where "socialism" refers to traditional socialism with 100% social ownership of means of production

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 26, 2013:

jg555— Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your excellent and thoughtful comments. I will have to come over soon and see what you've been writing lately.

I agree with you that a form of socialism can be implemented that includes tax revenues for the State. I suppose those lines you quoted from my article may be a more extreme example, or shall we say, an example of full-blown socialism, not socialism-lite, which is more in vogue now.

Marx and Lenin and Mao saw Socialism as a mere stepping stone—an intermediate stop along the way to Communism, not a final destination. Therefore, clear bright lines of distinction are hard to find that mark where the socialism ends and the communism begins. Marx, Lenin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, and even Hitler all considered themselves to be Socialists. All were also dictators, so I am not sure that your insistence that socialists cannot be dictators holds true--at least in my opinion.

You are a learned and articulate man who has done his homework. Your correspondence is well received. Thanks again.


jg555 from New York on January 23, 2013:

I think you have Socialism confused with Communism in at least one paragraph. When you say "Socialism would do away with taxes. Since those in charge would control all revenue there will be no need to ask for anything from the citizenry, other than their labor and obedience." This would be a characteristic of Communism. In a Socialist country you may be working for the government, but you would still be paid and taxed in the same manor as a Capitalist society.

I also think you're mistaking Socialism with Fascism when you say "An effective manager in a Socialist economy is a dictator over other men, not a boss of men, and the temptation will be great for men holding such power." I think that this "temptation" is true of anyone in government no matter how much power they have. The difference is that in Socialism it is the entire government in charge, not just a single person. There might be some sort of President or Prime Minister, but they would be elected and have limited power as our President does. This means that Socialism is not a dictatorship.

I'd like to point out that I am not in favor of Socialism. I do not trust a government with that much power over everyone's lives, especially in a country like the U.S.. There are far too many people over too great of an area. However, we can't confuse it for Communism or Fascism, because they are all different forms of government.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 26, 2012:

Paul Baker— I appreciate the profile and your gracious compliments. We are about the same age. Ham radio, eh? I haven't heard much about those lately. Thank you very much for reading my writings and for the nice note.

James :)

paul baker winsford CHESHIRE UK on November 18, 2012:

James Watkins

You are a talented writer i give you that

I thought i would give you my personal profile

i am aged 58 i was born in Warrington nr lIVERPOOL

my hobby's are computing astrophysics model railways airguns; i am also a radio ham call sign M3JIC IAM ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 11, 2012:

Paul Baker— I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you reading so many of my Hubs and responding to them. We have spent so much time together lately that I feel like you have become one of the family. Thank you for engaging me on this very serious subjects. God Bless You!


paul baker on November 09, 2012:


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 26, 2012:

Robert— Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your comments.

I do not know from which country you are posting but to claim that Americans above all people have a censored press is insane—even more so since the invention of the internet.

Hitler was a socialist in that he made the means of production serve State needs and State needs only. Even if he made a pretense of continuing private ownership, anybody who didn't produce what he told them to produce and distribute their product where the State told them to distribute it lost their property (means of production) immediately if not their lives. This fits perfectly well with Socialist ideology.

Now I know there are many variations in definitions of what a Socialist is. Hitler called himself one, so did Lenin, so did Stalin, so did Mao, so did Pol Pot. That's a pretty rough crowd you hang out with.

I have had people tell me that just because every implementation of Socialism has produced horrors beyond human imagination—suffering, murder, starvation, oppression—that is just because the wrong guys were in charge. I say that is nonsense. Socialism by its very nature attracts those very guys who want totalitarian power.

I am grateful that you let me personally off the hook by laying the blame for my "delusions" on Schumpeter, Hayek, and Pipes—three thinkers and political philosophers you apparently believe have no clue as to what Socialism is. Well, I've heard of them but I've never heard of you.

Thanks again.

Robert on January 24, 2012:

I always find reading these articles interesting as they show how diluded most people (espicially Americans) are about how much the environment around them and everything they interact with is censored. This is what has given so many people the impression socialism is "Bad" and capitalism is "Good". I have to admit the points made here would lead you to believe that socialism is an awful system though this is because most of the analysis quotes figures etc are misquoted, paraphrased to the point verging on downright lies though this is not specifically the authors fault it is the fault of his source material.

As a Revolutionary Democratic Trotskist Socialist I can and will defute any points made in this article but just to begin let me say: Fascism is nothing to do with socialism it is based on an economic system called corporationism, Mao was never a socialist he made up his own school of communism which is completely contrary to any of Marx ideas, Hitler wasn't a socialist he just used the name to attract workers he actually split with and killed anyone in his party that argued for social reform (wiki search the strasser brothers).

As I said earlier this just me warming up if anyone wants to comment back and have a debate.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 07, 2011:— Welcome to the Hub Pages Community! I look forward to reading some of your writings soon. Thank you for taking the time to visit this Hub, and for leaving behind your excellent and well received comments.

I surely appreciate your gracious compliments about my article. I agree with your remarks wholeheartedly. About those 100 million citizens murdered by their own countrymen in Atheist regimes, I have written about that: from upstate, NY on January 07, 2011:

I have to correct my typo's from my previous post: It should be "more than 100 million murders by socialist governments". These governments include the socialist paradises of the former USSR, China, The National Socialist's of Germany or Nazi's in the 1930's-45, Cuba, Cambodia, and others. from upstate, NY on January 06, 2011:

Terrific commentary. I not sure I've even heard anyone articulate what socialism is any better than this. The problem with socialism is socialism because its based on false assumptions. When God is taken out of a society, something has to fill the void. Socialism is a religion of the government, that sees the government as its savior. You would think after 100 murders committed by socialist governments people would get the message. If Marx was alive today I think even he might be a capitalist!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 02, 2010:

Charles James— Yes, we do, brother. (Sorry about all those typos in my last comment. I don't know how that happened. It must have been late at night.)

I agree with you about American involvement in Russia and Cuba. That "Bay of Pigs" was sure a debacle.

No doubt we have meddled too much in other people's affairs. You've made very good points here. Thank you. :)

Charles James from Portugal on December 01, 2010:

James - You and I respect intelligent people and rational argument. They are so rare that we appreciate them when we find them.

Actually the USA sent troops to Russia in 1918 to help the White Russians fight against the Communist Revolution. Some American troops were there until 1920.

I do not think you dispute that the Americans tried to assassinate Fidel Castro and that the Americans were behind the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

Even if you wish to, it is very difficult to develop towards a liberal democracy when the CIA will use every opportunity they have -and lots of dollars - to subvert democracy.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2010:

Charles James— Cubans do have more equal distribution of wealth, but as always without exception, this creates far less wealth for everybody. So they all hav equally less. I am not an expert on the health care systems of either country. I suspect there is more in play here, such as diet for instance. But I agree that the Cuban system could have some lositive aspects. It would be hard to find any system without any positive aspects. I don't think America tried to overthrow the USSR or China. If you are referring to proxy wars during the Cold War, most American actions were reactions to Soviet actions.

Still, I do appreciate your gentility, and erudite ideas.

Charles James from Portugal on November 29, 2010:

If the Cubans can have a more equal distribution of income because they are socialist, and run a better health system than Argentina where the average income is so much higher, and people in Cuba have a longer life expectancy than Argentina- perhaps the Cuban system has some positive aspects.

If the American givernment tries to overthrow socialist democratic regimes wherever it can , the only socialist regimes that will survive are those which are or become undemocratic.

And then Americans say "All socialist regimes are undemocratic!"

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 25, 2010:

Charles James— hmmm . . . I will accept this as evidence that Cuba must pay more attention to infant mortality than does Argentina. Which is a very good thing. I see that Argentines make 75% more per capita than do Cubanos, though. At one time, Cuba was much closer to the USA in GDP. Say 1959. :D

You did make a very good point!

Charles James from Portugal on October 25, 2010:

It is very hard to argue with someone who says I have a big heart - particularly when I know you have, too.

Should we look at statistics for health for Cuba and a comparator such as Argentina? For infant mortality (under 1), child mortality (under 5) and life expectancy Argentina loses to Cuba every time. In fact Cuba does better than the USA on infant mortality, and ties on life expectancy - despite being a poor country struggling under US sanctions. Would you accept this as evidence that socialism works?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 22, 2010:

Charles James— I agree with you that the most uncomfortable aspect of capitalism is the stock market and its players. Yet, without them, capitalism would not have lifted all boats as it has in the last three hundred years. Many people overlook the benefits to all people of this unprecedented in human history rising tide. Even besides the "safety net," the poor enjoy the roads, communications, airports, parks, libraries, and other technologies that capitalism hath wrought.

The unemployable and those in prison are a by-product of multiculturalism and the "self-esteem" movement in the public schools. There children are taught that all cultures are equal—as if putting a bone through ones nose is equal to putting a man on the moon. And told they are great without doing anything great.

There is no shortage of training available in the USA. Most of the wayward simply choose not to take advantage of it. It is a problem of the heart and the mind.

I appreciate your keen analysis and your big heart. Thank you for sharing your insights.

Charles James from Portugal on October 21, 2010:

I agree.

I have absolutely no problem with people who worked hard and who sacrificed doing better than people who wasted their lives. I have no problem with an entertainer or sportsman or inventor reaping the results of their contribution.

When you look at the casino of Wall Street and the City of London where people receive huge salaries and bonuses without having contributed to society you begin to be uncomfortable about naked capitalism.

One good thing about American society is that you have built a tradition of charitable giving by the wealthy, which is laudable. Harvard University has built a financial system where anyone who can qualify for entry to Harvard can afford to study there. Well done Harvard!

Both the USA and the UK have a large population of people who are close to unemployable. In part this is because mechanisation and industrial change have eliminated many manual jobs and created a lot of jobs for which these people are simply not qualified.

Under capitalism they are free to work or starve - but if the jobs are not there what are they to do? That, and the tolerance of violence and guns in the USA explains why you have such a large prison population.

In a socialist society they would be found work or training to put them into a position where they can contribute to society and not just take from it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 20, 2010:

Charles James— They couldn't have been allowed access to the West or they would have seen how life was 100 times better in the West. Socialism leads to authoritarianism at the least. If the state is elevated above individuals, above family, above church, above the local and regional communities, the then available power naturally leads to corruption among men. It is irrestible. This has been proven over and over again. Nor is it fair, just, or true equality that is the result. It robs people of all incentive to work hard, be productive, be efficient, to invent, to innovate.

If Bob studies in school every day for twelve years, does homework three hours per night, gets all As, posts a high SAT score, does the same in college, starts a business in his garage, works 80 hours a week, makes $5,000 the first year, $10,000 the third, $20,000 the fifth and finally his hard work pays off when by year 15 he is making $250,000 a year (but he only averaged $50,000 for the fifteen years);

AND IF: Bill pays no attention in school, does no homework, drops out in the tenth grade, becomes a crack head and drunkard, fathers five illegitimate children with five different women (none of whom he cared about, who become dependent on the state), has maybe thirty jobs over fifteen years but each only lasts a few months because he doesn't like to be told what to do, ends up unemployed, broke, with nothing;

According to Social Justice Doctrine, the state, with the threat of force, should take half of Bob's wages each year and give it to Bill. They call this "fairness" "equality" and "social Justice." But it neither fair, just, nor equal.

They are not being treated equally by the state: one is having his earnings confisctated, the other is being rewarded for a wasted life. It is not fair to punish Bob; it is not fairness that they end up with equal possessions. And it is surely unjust. The end result is a nation of Bobs.

Charles James from Portugal on October 19, 2010:

East Germany had the Russians robbing them continuously, and the Americans trying to destabilise them. Not having access to trade with the West was a huge handicap.

Russia in 1917 and the USA in 1917 is not exactly a level start! Arguably, starting from such a low base, the Russians did quite well despite all the mistakes they made and all the crimes they committed against their own people and against other people. They got a man into space first.

I am not defending totalitarianism and dictatorship. It is part of your thesis I think that socialism leads to totalitarianism.

What is your take on the military dictatorships supported by the USA?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 18, 2010:

Charles James— The people running Enron were corrupt crooks. There are and will be corrupt crooks under any system of governance. What the bad people of Enron did not do is kill one hundred million human beings, as did the self-desribed socialists Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and that North Korean dude. You wrote:

"I want a society where everyone has decent education, decent health care, decent housing, and the chance to get on on merit. There has to be a floor beneath which people do not sink if only for the sake of their children. I have the impression - which may be wrong=- that you do not share these ideals."

We certainly have these ideals now in America. There is not a single soul in America who cannot get a fine education. But they have to want to be educated. The poor in America are better off than most of the people on this planet. Even the poorest of the poor have flush toilets, cell phones, food, clothes, housing, televisions, DVD players, refrigerators, stoves, electricity, and automobiles. You then mention merit—but the only merit in Socialism is the adherence to the party line. Capitalism made America the by far wealthiest nation in the history of the earth. Take a look at North and South Korea; East and West Germany before the Iron Curtain fell; and see the incredible difference in how the populace fared under the two systems. Look at the USA and the USSR from 1917-1989 and tell me Socialism is better.

Charles James from Portugal on October 17, 2010:

Indonesia, Franco's Spain, Pinochet's Chile, the Argentinian military junta - all of them supplied and supported by the USA by the way. And of course South Africa and Zimmbabwe. Who trained SAVAK and supported Saddam Hussain - the USA!

Because of British libel laws I dare not say anything about Sark and the Barclay brothers, but if you investigate that you will be concerned what capitalists are doing even today.

My essential point is that swapping atrocity stories

is not very constructive. There are capitalists whom I respect like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, and capitalists everyone despises now they have failed - Enron etc.

I want a society where everyone has decent education, decent health care, decent housing, and the chance to get on on merit. There has to be a floor beneath which people do not sink if only for the sake of their children. I have the impression - which may be wrong=- that you do not share these ideals.

Lets face it, if you cannot achieve these results in capitalist America, capitalism is not the answer.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 09, 2010:

Svarek— Thank you very much!!

Svarek on October 08, 2010:

You're all NUTS!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 01, 2010:

Laura— Yes, you are right. Capitalism produces inequality, by its very nature. But at the same time it is capitalism that made America. America has an average wage of $50,000 per year; half the world has an average wage of $365 per year. In America, the poorest of the poor are given $20,000 per year in money, food, housing, goods, and services; in Socialist countries EVERYBODY makes $5,000 a year or less. Now this may make you feel better, to know that nobody does better than anyone else. But EVERYBODY suffers. The reason is simple human nature.

If I stage a marathon and I tell the contestants: the winner gets a million dollars; 2nd place $500,000; 3rd place $350,000; and so on down to the guy who finishes last gets $30,000. Those who refuse to even run in the race will get $20,000 just for breathing. This is America. In this marathon, millions of people train like the dickens; they want to win; they do all they can to be ready and run the race well. This produces new world record after new world record, as well as innovation, invention, and creativity.

If I say, let's have a marathon and everybody in it will get $20,000 at the end regardless of how well they run: you can bet your rear end that few will even try. Why should they? If there is nothing to gain by all that hard work, people won't do it. There are hundreds of examples of this truth from the Pilgrims to the USSR to countless communes that have been established. Capitalism raises ALL boats. Why can you enjoy thousands of museums, parks, roads, harbors, airports, libraries, et al.? Because of capitalism you can enjoy these things along with everybody else.

Socialism puts the government in charge of your life and death and leads to corruption, and bribery. It is the opposite of freedom. It drags down the TOTAL wealth of a community drastically wherever it is tried. You can only be a socialist if somebody else not having more than you is all you care about; even if you both have far less of everything.

Laura on September 30, 2010:

Capitalism made some Americans ridiculously, unnecessarily rich while leaving everyone else to get even poorer. There's a reason 44 million don't have health insurance, and it's because of a system which consistently disadvantages the weak. And you're calling that a fair society?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 26, 2010:

Charles James— I agree that Democracy is paramount. But Socialist societies are decidedly anti-democratic. If not overtly—which they eventually gravitate to—then covertly through bureaucracies that control things through regulations that have not been made law by any legislature or any sort of public referendum.

You mention swapping capitalist atrocities for socialist atrocities. Go ahead if you can name where a capitalist nation has murdered tens of millions of its own citizens.

I agree with you that ALL societies would be "better" if the results of people's lives were more "equal." The answer is to motivate more people to achievement so their results will be more equal—not to artifically declare them equal.

Yes, the United States is a fair society. The most fair in the history of the earth. I agree with leveling up instead of down, of course.

Thank you for your excellent commentaries. You have a big heart. That's a good thing.

Charles James from Portugal on April 26, 2010:

Socialists such as Keir Hardie were conscious of the idle poor and had no time for them. Most 19th century socialists preached the importance of temperance, because of the propensity of poor people to drink and the obvious consequences.

Although you rightly condemn North Korea, it must also be remembered that South Korea was a dictatorship for may years. Presumably because it was a pro- capitalist dictatorship its crimes do not matter?

A lack of democracy invalidates society, no matter how financially successful that society is. I do not say that China is a wonderful success story for socialism because there never has been democracy there and there is no democracy there now.

Would you praise a capitalist society if it were not a democracy?

Given the role of the USA in overturning a democratically elected government in Chile, the obvious questioon is whether a socialist society will be allowed to operate if it is against the interests of American capitalism.

f you are born into a society where it is truly possible to rise on merit, you are very fortunate. I agree that people who work hard and are honest should prosper.

It is possible to look at atrocities under regimes described as socialism, such as North Korea. We could swop socialist atrocity for capitalist atrocity for weeks if we wished.

A collective "bottom up" approach is better than an authoritarian "top down" approach.

Is the USA a fair society - a level playing field- where some children receive a poor education, no health service, and live in desperately inadequate housing, and others have millionaire parents and grandparents and have all the opportunities anyone could wish? Yes some of the millions in the underclass will escape and join the rich - but would it not be better for society if there were more equality?

Arguably it would be better for capitalists too! Level up rather than level down.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 20, 2010:

Charles James— I can hardly believe you can look at the results in North vs South Korea; or East vs West Germany, and with a straight face say Socialism works out better for human societies than Capitalism.

Let's say you've got 300 million people to experiment with. You split them in half and tell one group: If you are a serious person, who studies long and hard in school, who works hard to learn a skill or trade or something to do that useful to your fellow man, if you are earnest, honest, sober, virtuous, and morally upright, if you save your money, live modestly, spend your time on earth wisely—you can achieve success and obtain enough wealth to where you will always be comfortable, and so will your children, you will be able to afford to pay for the best medical care and education for your family, live in a a safe neighborhood, and live well all of your days.

You tell the other group: No matter what you do with your life or how you spend your time, no matter what you do, if you just jack off on porn and smoke pot for thirty years, you will receive the same housing, food, car, medical care, clothes, as everybody else.

Now if you are a dreamer, you will think the second group will do just as well. If you have brains in your head and understand a thimble full about human beings, you will have to admit that the first group will create a far superior society to the second, that in fact they will ALL have more material wealth, that their poor will live better than everybody in country number 2 (except the party leaders and planners of course, who will feast on caviar and have villas on the Black Sea). Not to mention the people in group one are FREE. The people in group two are SLAVES. Damn it son! Wake up!

Charles James from Portugal on April 20, 2010:

The NHS funds needle exchange schemes to reduce addict to addict cross infection. The cost of treating even one case of AIDS or other serious disease makes funding needle exchange schemes a good idea.

Even if you believe drug addicts should rot in Hell you should accept that needele exchange schemes make good financial sense. If you have a more positive approach to addicts, then funding rehab etc schemes seems a good idea.

The NHS is now often refusing surgery to smokers and heavy drinkers, on the argument that while the people concerned live like that there is little benefit in doing the operation. This seems to me very close to the interfering nanny state concept.

What I find so interesting about James' series on socialism is that it seems everything socialism does is an atrocity, and apparently unregulated capitalism can do no wrong.

These views are so far from what I believe that I can only smile wryly.

Socialism involves communal effort to achieve admirable aims which have been democratically agreed. Capitalism is selfish striving with no regard for the good of society as a whole. Even non-socialists usually agree with the need to restrict some of the worst manifestations of capitalism.

Over to you James!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 17, 2010:

jandee— Hello. I do not mind criticism at all. I welcome it. I am pleased that you took the time to read my article. Thanks for the note.

jandee on April 17, 2010:

james a watkins, Hello Would just like to say after your lecture on Marxism keep on trying. maybe more of the Marxism that you research will hopefully embed into your brain ! Hope you don't mind a bit of critis(ism)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 25, 2010:

Allan McGregor— I surely agree with your commentary. Here in the USA, all burst appendix are treated at hospital now. You wrote:

"British taxpayers must fund clean needle and methadone programmes for drug addicts and reverse sex change surgery for transsexuals who have 'changed their minds'."

This strikes me as ridiculous.

"Basically, the system is overloaded with free-loaders and ingrates who consider it their inalienable right to eat, drink and smoke themselves to death while expecting everyone else to pick up the tab. That is not responsible citizenship, but the road to national bankruptcy."

This is the problem with "free" everything for everybody right here. Disgusting.

I totally agree with all of your words.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 25, 2010:

Charles James— You are welcome. Oh, I agree with you 100% that lawyers are a big part of the problem. I believe their fees should be capped at 10%. This would eliminate hundreds of frivolous lawsuits straightaway.

I agree with your points # 2 and #3, but regarding # 1 all people are treated at American hospitals regardless of their ability to pay.

Medicare/Medicaid has a 15% fraud rate, and has for decades. I think Newt Gingrich had the best idea: turn over these programs to Visa/Mastercard. They administer their programs for less than 3% (far less than our bureaucracy) and they make a profit! How? Their fraud rate is one tenth of one percent. Why? Becuase they care.

Allan McGregor from South Lanarkshire on March 24, 2010:

As someone who worked in nursing, including the NHS, for 13 years and whose life was saved when my appendix burst in 1977, I have no quibble with the idea of a national health system, 'free at the point of need'.

Should we treat emergencies like mine, or RTAs, or heart attacks on the NHS? Of course we should. Should we provide free insulin to Type I diabetics, or dopamine to Parkinson's sufferers? Of course we should. And if that sort of thing was all the NHS did, then all well and good. But it isn't.

British taxpayers must fund clean needle and methadone programmes for drug addicts and reverse sex change surgery for transsexuals who have 'changed their minds'. When GP waiting lists get too long, impatient patients simply toddle along to their local A&E department where they take up valuable time trying to jump the queue or obtain free prescription drugs they would otherwise have to pay for.

Basically, the system is overloaded with free-loaders and ingrates who consider it their inalienable right to eat, drink and smoke themselves to death while expecting everyone else to pick up the tab. That is not responsible citizenship, but the road to national bankruptcy.

And, no. I don't believe our governments (or more accurately, their taxpayers) should have bailed out the banks. Yes, it lessened some of the pain in the short term, but will inevitably lead to even greater pain in the long term when the banks - which have learned nothing - eventually do collapse.

Padding the wallets of a lot of fatcats with taxpayers' money is no different from providing drug addicts with clean needles to facilitate their habit.

Charles James from Portugal on March 24, 2010:

Thank you for the really interesting explanation. Another factor is the way lawyers are paid, because they take a large cut of the winnings. Perhaps you need something like the Pearson Commission proposed 40 years ago. They proposed no fault compensation, where someone who has an injury gets paid out of a fund, and the fund is contributed to by the insurance companies. They said the money saved on two sets of lawyers and experts arguing over negligence would more than pay for the odd unmeritorious case.

It seems that there is a conensus (1) many people who need medical care are not getting it and (2) the government cannot be trusted to run thing efficiently and (3) even if the government could run it efficiently it expands government control over the individual.

Would you be happier if a private company tendered to run Healthcare in each State?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 23, 2010:

Charles James--- Your comments make good sense. Health care is surely a problem in the USA. What is objected to is Obamacare. Most of us feel that the problems here have largely been caused by the government to begin with. The government runs Medicare and Medicare, which combined have $100B per year of fraud. So, we don't see the sense in giving them a $17T program to run when they do such a lousy job with a $660B program. The problems here are massive lawsuits, which cause malpractice insurance to cost some doctors $80,000 per year, and far worse, makes doctors order millions of unnecessary (and invasion and painful) tests and procedures to keep from being sued; that insurance companies are not allowed to compete across state lines, greatly reducing competition; and that the government sets the price of over 800 medical procedures, thus enterfering with the free market. In addition, costs are driven up by terrible diet and lack of exercise, combined with exploding technologies, which will keep the sickest people alive, but at tremendous cost. Having the government take over is not about sick people, but about power and control in the hands of the central government. We don't want that.

Charles James from Portugal on March 23, 2010:

Millions of people went under who did not deserve to go under. I am truly sorry that you were one of them.

Had Brown/Obama not recued the banks many millions more people who did not deserve to go under would have gone under too.

I understand the reasoning for bailing out the banks - it was to rescue capitalism because the consequences of not rescuing capitalism would fall on millions of innocent people. If not hurting millions of people who do not deserve to be hurt is "socialist", I am happy to accept that label.

What is unfair is that the costs of bailing out the banks falls on us little people - the profits from the rescued banks are kept by their shareholders and execeutives.

In Britain some banks have been part nationalised because they were bust - but the long term intention is to let them pay off their debt and be free to operate again. It seems to me that if a capitalist business fails we should not give them their marbles back.

Perhaps someone can explain to me (1) why Health Care is not a problem in the USA and (2) why so many millions of Americans think that it is.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 22, 2010:

Judah's Daughter--- I totally agree with you, my dear. And by the way--it's great to see you again. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 22, 2010:

Charles James--- Yes, you are surely right, sir. I am one of those people. My business of 14 years went under one year ago and my home foreclosure notice just arrived.

Yes, I believe they were wrong to bail out anybody unless they were going to bail out everybody--which they cannot do. The huge sop to the auto industry was a huge mistake. Please see my article: "Unions Killed Michigan"

They should have let everybody go under who deserved to go under. One problem was that the government knows it caused the problem with the Community Reinvestment Act. And so felt obliged to do the bail outs. It would have been better to let the chips fall where they may. Let the Free Market sort out the winners and losers. Otherwise, someone has to choose, and that, sir, is very dangerous business.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 22, 2010:

Allan McGregor--- 'All Animals are Equal...But some animals are more equal than others'

I'd say this just about sums up Socialism in one sentence, my friend.

Thank you for all of your words here. Brilliant as always! I have missed your wise commentaries. Glad to have you back.

Judah's Daughter from Roseville, CA on March 22, 2010:

I don't believe the "bail-out" was capitalist, but socialist, if you ask me, Charles James. The current "system" is pushing for socialism. Look at the healthcare reform bill that just passed! I don't think businesses will increase, but more will lay off workers or close. Brace ourselves...

Charles James from Portugal on March 22, 2010:

There are millions of people who have lost their jobs in the current recession. Some have lost businesses and homes through no fault of their own.

Were Brown and Obama wrong to bail out the banks and the car industry?

Capitalist society has recurrent crises. How much worse does it have to get before some colleagues recognise that the capitalist system has structural failings? This time wise and courageous governments rescued capitalism.

The next crisis may be too big for governments to rescue.

Allan McGregor from South Lanarkshire on March 22, 2010:

My PC has been playing up for a few days, so I was just catching up on comments when I spotted the disingenuous 'Stalin stopped Hitler' assertion. - Eh?

Historically speaking, Stalin was responsible for far more deaths than Hitler, and during the Battle of Britain in 1940, the Luftwaffe was fuelled by Russian oil because Comrade Stalin was still Herr Hitler's ally.

The Russian people did as they were told, which until Hitler stabbed Stalin in the back, and Stalin said otherwise, was to remian an ally of Nazi Germany. This duplicity was noted by George Orwell, himself a Socialist, who observed that many of those on the Far Left would have been equally comfortable on the Far Right if it paid better.

'1984' is often cited as Orwell's finest work, a book whose title is an anagram of '1948' and a thinly disguised allegory of Soviet Russia as paralleled by an imaginary 'Soviet Britain'. However, I am an equal admirer of Orwell's other great work in this milieu - 'Animal Farm', with its timeless observation: 'All Animals are Equal...But some animals are more equal than others'.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

thegecko--- Yes, it is. You are truly a gentleman.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

BDazzler--- I have enjoyed your civility and gentility. Thank you. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

thegecko--- Hello again! Socialists, or Trade Unionists, do not believe in firing people. I, of course, want every person who works and works hard to have a good life. I appreciate your thought processes. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Surely nothing wrong with them in my book.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

BDazzler--- You made a lot of good points. Thank you. The problem with Socialism or Central Planning is what you alluded to: who decides what is fair? Give me the free market every time. It is always impartial and no respector of persons--as the Rule of Law also should be.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

thegecko--- Thank you for coming back and clarifying your ideas. We do have a minimum wage law--which, of course, I also oppose. But most of what you've said is sensible and not the sort of things that are flash points for me.

You are correct that Socialism can be voted in by a Democracy, such as in the case of Allende in Chile. I think the greater question becomes--can a democracy vote Socialists out once their in? History shows this to be a much more difficult proposition.

What you wrote about culture and attitudes is surely spot on. Thank you for these astute observations. Regarding professors, it is well established that nine out of ten professors are leftists. And that diversity on campus stops short of including Conservatism, and certainly not tolerance of students who are Christians.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

angel115707--- Wow! Your comments are quite profound. You are truly wise beyond your years. Thank you very much for your outstanding contributions to this conversation. And a warm welcome to the Hub Pages Community.

thegecko on March 21, 2010:

No problem :)

I got to take some blame too, I don't always flesh out everything I'm thinking. It's easy to rush to conclusion about comments on HubPages!

BDazzler from Gulf Coast, USA on March 21, 2010:

"Are you saying that if people work full time, that they should be paid less than what is necessary to afford housing, food, utilities, and to raise their children? ...

there should be a decent standard for those who earn a decent living"

I re-read your posts in context of this clarification, In light of that misunderstanding, I do apologize for the aggressiveness of my response. It was based on the wrong context. It appears you were arguing much finer points than I gave you credit for, sorry.

thegecko on March 21, 2010:

If they don't produce anything of value, they'll be fired, obviously. What about management responsibility? Why would someone keep around employees that don't make money? Come on now...

Are you saying that if people work full time, that they should be paid less than what is necessary to afford housing, food, utilities, and to raise their children? And I didn't say "I" would get to decide, I said society gets to decide, WE get to decide. Who will you go to decide for you? God? Good luck with that...

If you wish to gamble your life savings, that is your risk to take, and you will gain the abundant rewards for it if you succeed. Or you can just remember the quote, "It's not a risk if you know what you're doing." I'm not proposing keeping everyone on an equal scale, abolishing the rich, or anything like that. I'm just saying there should be a decent standard for those who earn a decent living, for those, for the lack of a better term, deserve a decent living. Just like there's a standard expectation on the job, in school, etc, and people understand the rewards for meeting those standards.

Or is that just too liberal, progressive, or whatever label you want to give the concept, to understand?

BDazzler from Gulf Coast, USA on March 21, 2010:

"if people work at the standard society sets for them, right now 40 hrs per week, then there should be at least a standard livable pay so they can afford basic needs that most people agree on."

You're joking, right? What if they don't produce anything of value in those 40 hours? Should they still be paid? Are they guaranteed a standard of living? What if they are lazy and don't produce? What if the demand for whatever they are producing vanishes.

Where do you get your "shoulds" and "oughts" from? By what authority are you saying SHOULD?

What's fair to the people who put their life savings up to start a business of their dreams only to have it destroyed by lazy or incompetent people who don't do what they are being paid to do?

Will you also guarantee a fair profit? Why do you get to decide what's fair?

"did you go to college? Do you really believe professors are trying to corrupt and deceive the minds of America’s youth? "

Well, I did, and yes I do. Especially at the state funded schools. In fact, I'm sure of it in two specific cases, because if you get 'em drunk enough, they'll admit it.

thegecko on March 21, 2010:

"You claim to be a proponent of personal freedom and personal choice, even the choice to do the wrong thing, just a few sentences after you want to guarantee a certain standard of living to all people regardless of their choices."

I think you misconstrued what I meant... if people work at the standard society sets for them, right now 40 hrs per week, then there should be at least a standard livable pay so they can afford basic needs that most people agree on. Now if people want to waste their money and not pay for what they need, if they rather stay content and not earn more, then they can live with the consequences of those choices (ie not paying for education, healthcare, food etc). I suggest this as a better solution than redistributing wealth and I am not a proponent of people getting paid or receiving services for doing nothing. I admit that this plan will most likely never be possible. Throughout history there appears to be no true fail safe for greed, power, and corruption.

I still disagree with you about your definition of socialism and democracy. Pure democracy is simply government decisions made by the majority of the people, for better or for worse. In the USA we have a democratic republic, where most of the time we vote for representatives to make decisions for us. Already sounds a little like your definition of socialism to me.

It's difficult to take you seriously when you make blank statements like "Marx was wrong about nearly everything in fact.” Have you even read his studies on capitalism? On alienation? Can you claim that any pure form of government or societal structure exists or existed? He might have been wrong about communism, but communism has never be implemented or practiced the way he proposed. I would also point out that you seem to equate communism with socialism, when they’re not the same thing.

Responding to some of the other posters… did you go to college? Do you really believe professors are trying to corrupt and deceive the minds of America’s youth? I majored in sociology and we studied Marx, social structure, politics, etc extensively. I do not remember one professor ever supporting that people should be able to live for free off of other people (even the rich), that the government should engage in giving handouts to the lazy and undeserving, that capitalism was an evil progression of human civilization. Do elites still run the world? Yes. Do people still exploit the poor on a global scale? Yes. Has capitalism and democracy proven to be better for the masses overall than preceding societal structures? Yes. But that does not mean there aren’t problems that need our attention.

It’s funny people want to dump the blame of our youth’s attitudes on academia when professors probably sacrifice more to get where they are, compete more, and work harder than much of society. Then you want to claim these same people are trying to convince others to do the opposite?

It’s not our colleges, it’s our culture. It’s more and more focusing on entertainment, pleasure, and entitlement while leaving behind hard work, ethics, and responsibility. These attitudes can be found throughout the country, even in people who do not go to college and who care less about school. Professors are just trying to find possible solutions to problems and teaching people the realities of the world we live in. If people want to whine, cry, and scream victim over it, that’s their prerogative, but it’s wrong to clump all the colleges together to create a huge scapegoat for this problem you call “socialism.” Socialism is not the problem, our culture is the problem, and aspects of socialism fit into the worldview of many Americans because it gets them what they want without having to do much themselves. What’s more capitalistic than that?

And when I refer to Americans, I am generalizing here and speaking of specifically Americans indoctrinated with the take all, give nothing attitude.

Angel Ward from Galveston, TX on March 21, 2010:

The biggest problem is evil people seem to have the most motivation in molding the minds of youth, take Hitler for example..very vigorously molding youth.

I just turned 29 in January and i can tell you, personally, these kids who claim to be adults allowed a corrupt system to promise freedom from any real effort on their own if they sell their souls for the cause of rebelling against a tradition to desire freedom that has begun to die as soon as she spread her wings good!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

A M Werner--- Thank you for taking the time to read my work. I appreciate your kind comments. I think good fences make good neighbors. Blessed are the peacemakers, brother. I see nothing inherently wrong with competition. Didn't Paul say to fight the good fight as a runner in the Olympics, to train to win? :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

boba020682--- You asked:

"Why do we have to get older to see the flaws in a socialist society?"

It is because our public schools and universities push leftist views as the Gospel and it takes years of living in the real world to see how wrongheaded that view is.

There is no incentive to be inventive, or innovative, in a Socialist society--therein lies the rub. If people would achieve the same accomplishments as under Capitalism, Socialism might not even be too bad an idea, other than the loss of freedom and liberty.

Thank you for reading and leaving your compliments. More to come.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

Faithrevealed2u--- Welcome to the Hub Pages Community! Thank you for reading my article. I really appreciate your kind comments. God Bless You!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

thegecko--- I agree with you about the spectrum of systems and the hybridization of systems. McCarthy was right and his critics were wrong. We know now from the Verona Papers and other sources that there were communist agents in our government. Democracy and Socialism are naturally opposed to each other. Democracy is about the Rule of Law known as Blind Justice, private property rights, Freedom of Thought and Speech. Socialism is about using the law to create different ends for different people, collective ownership of property, and the demand that people have Thought and Speech in accord with that decided from above, such as Political Correctness, for one example.

I agree that Marx would have abhorred the result of the implementation of his ideas, everywhere they have been implemented. Marx was wrong about nearly everything in fact.

I am sorry that my whole Hub bothers you. Extreme views of Socialism? Do you consider Joseph Schumpeter and F. A. Hayek to be extremists?

You claim to be a proponent of personal freedom and personal choice, even the choice to do the wrong thing, just a few sentences after you want to guarantee a certain standard of living to all people regardless of their choices. Surely, this is contradictory. But then your last three paragraphs contain a lot of sound truth that I agree with, of course. What you are missing is the difference in achievement of most all individuals under different systems. The Pilgrims found this out when they tried communal living one year. Everybody was going to work together and share all the crops. So many didn't work hard at all, and they nearly all starved to death. The following year the governor decided that each man would get to keep whatever he could grow for himself, and they had a bounty of too much food. There is a life lesson in there if you can see it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

JWestCattle--- You are welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read my article and for your fine response. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community.

There is no question that the United Nations is for worldwide Socialism. They make no bones about the fact that they want to redistribute the wealth of successful nations to the unsuccessful. There is also no question that the purpose of all these Czars, and their radical leftist leanings, is to regulate Socialism into our country, thereby bypassing the legislative process. Slick.

I don't know a thing about this agricultural organization but I am going to check it out right now. Thanks for telling me about it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

OpinionDuck--- I really liked your comments directed toward Charles James. Thanks for chiming in. Nicely done.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

stars439--- Thank you, brother. I appreciate your readership and your compliments. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 21, 2010:

JOE BARNETT--- It is not hard for me to grasp. I understand what Locke was saying and what the Founding Fathers were saying. They are saying that God is above human governments; that we have natural inalienable rights; that we have the rights because they are God-given rights; therefore our rights do not come from governments; the state has no right to interfere with the free exercise of religion.

But this is not what the "Progressives" in education want to teach our children, Joe. Far from it. They want to teach our children without mentioning God or God-given rights. The "Conservatives" are trying to stop them in the name of the Truth. The Truth should be important to all people.

Allen Werner from West Allis on March 21, 2010:

James, there is no arguing with your historical accuracy, your research is wonderfully flawless. While I personally respect people's opinions on both sides of the fence, because the truth is, both sides want to accomplish the same thing and that is peace, order and prosperity; I still hold that it will always be an illusion - government that is. I simply believe in a world without fences and the things people on this side of one fence have to do to people on the other side of the fence to maintain this illusion of peace, order and prosperity is to me simply unChristian. What people are convinced is a better system still cannot be accomplished without others suffering, others dying. I can never be the hand that enforces my beliefs on another and so I can never support any form a government that says I must enforce it - and I would not and could not wish anyone to kill or die for me; Christ already did that once and for all time. I believe in the longsuffering of the peacemaker. Peace.

boba020682 from Silicon Valley on March 21, 2010:

Wow! What a frightening point about younger people in America today seeing socialism as a good idea. Why do we have to get older to see the flaws in a socialist society?

What is the inspiration to be inventive in a truly socialist society? It isn't as if you can create a company of your own and make yourself rich from your brilliant idea? That is not going to happen in a socialist society.

Something else I really don't understand is the fear of Christianity. I guess they want nice meek sheep who only pay attention to what the leader says.

Excellent Hub!

I really look forward to your other installments on socialism.

Faithrevealed2u from Cincinnati on March 20, 2010:

You expressed an enormous amount of knowledge and interest in this subject, it is obviously a part of who you are for you to research at such lengthy exent. God bless you in your ideas,and hub writing.

thegecko on March 20, 2010:

Hey James,

After clicking on the link to this Hub, why am I not surprised to find you as the author? ;)

I think you make the narrow mistake of viewing different types of societal structures as standalone forms instead of viewing them on a spectrum, or perhaps better, as a puzzle. Countries borrow bits and pieces from political ideals to fit their own needs. I would argue that no true form of any single governmental or societal model exists and we all live in hybrid systems, for better or worse. These hybrid systems came about because, yes, in pure form, many of the structures, including democracy, would be dangerous and not best suit the needs of the people.

It disturbs me even more that you appear to take a very McCarthy view of Socialism, and Communism for that matter, referring to it as a "scheme" and "abolition of private enterprise" etc. You also state that Socialism is "inimical to democracy," which fundamentally cannot be supported. In fact, democracy and socialism do not even fit into the same category to be compared. Socialism refers to the structure while democracy deals with the ruling body. Socialism could exist in an authoritarian, democratic, oligarchic, monarchial, or another type of government. Democracy and socialism do not naturally oppose each other.

"Radical Socialists are for violence, revolution, terror, and dictatorship," and the same can be said for most other radical political groups. Did not our own country forcibly break away from England because they wanted to run things their way?

In regards to Marx... he never intended communism to develop in the way Russia forced it to. He foresaw a very long, gradual progression. He also stated, after seeing what people started to do with his theories, that he "is not a Marxist." You overlook that most of Marx's writing did not deal with communism at all, but capitalism, and most of his theories on that subject proved to be right. Marx worried about the corruption and exploitation inherent in capitalism.

Your whole Hub bothers me - it appears you want to take the extreme views and definitions of socialism to suit your own desire to bash it down. You ignore the fact that many industrious and powerful nations adopt ideas taken from socialism to help the overall well-being of their populations, including Canada, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Sweden, Australia, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, France, and... OMG, the United States (just to name a few)! Public education, universal healthcare, welfare (social and corporate), heck, even many public services can be considered socialist in nature - the government stepping in to try and help equalize the chances of opportunity and the general welfare of everyone in the state.

Capitalism does hold inherent disadvantages when it comes to the way society can treat the lower classes. I do not want to get into another debate with you on where people start, different types of initial access based on a population's socio-economic status, etc. Capitalism does not seem to try and fix these disparities or create at least a reasonable standard of living for all, so other theories, including socialism, step in and try to remedy the problems.

That being said, I am not a socialist, and I more disagree with your definition of socialism rather than your warnings of how socialism can negatively impact a society.

As I mentioned months ago in one of your other Hubs, I would be all for creating a standard where people at least get paid enough to afford their basic living needs for themselves and their families - rent, food, utilities, education, healthcare - and then eliminate the need for the government to over tax and provide these services, at times at a terrible degree. I would even go so far as to say instead of providing certain services for free, that many people take for granted, like education, people could instead take out a loan for the government which gets paid back over an extended period of time. I think our government, as much as it helps the middle, lower, and working classes, also steals from them. It's difficult to justify taxing to provide services to the poor when those taxes can add up to 35-40% for families earning a low income (I'm including income, sales, and all other taxes in this figure). I am for personal freedom and personal choice, including the choice to do the wrong thing. I agree that if socialism goes too far, it in effect, takes away many of our freedoms.

And that will be the downfall of democracy in America, us giving away our own freedoms, asking the government to constantly step in and take care of everything for us. If only people possessed the mind of a socialist, in that we should help each other, but not rely on government to be the provider. After all, many of the people who take advantage of the masses, also run the government... yet so many people wish to hand more and more power over to them. Ignorance.

If we should re-teach people as others here suggest, it should be less towards reversing people's attitudes about socialism, but towards our real harmful ideals... individualism, consumerism, and materialism. Capitalism breeds greed and our greed and self obsessions prevent many of us from caring about our families, our communities, or our country. We want, but do not want to give, we ask, but do not return. We do not want to struggle; we do not want to sacrifice. Many scholars already label the generations coming out of school right now as the hopeless dreamers, the ones promised everything, and whom feel entitled to everything, but do not want to work for anything.

That mindset, while not inherent in all Americans, continues to send our country down a darker and self-destructive path. Capitalism works because practically all animals, including humans, possess the hardwired instincts of competition to survive, the need for greed and selfishness as a way of self preservation. But at some point, as our enlightened four fathers knew, a strong sense of community and collectiveness must also be prevalent for our overall survival. Those feelings need to be taught and practiced. America is losing that battle.

JWestCattle from Texas on March 20, 2010:

Thanks so much for this excellent hub and it's good to see so many folks interested and concerned about Socialism getting it's foot firmly wedged in the door of the White House.

The socialism movement is happening on an international level, and certainly has the stealth support of the United Nations by way of the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Obama's latest announcement of intent to grant the EPA regulatory authority over greenhouse gas emissions, without benefit of congressional approval, is yet another step in his socialistic agenda. Barrack Obama and the EPA appear to follow the tenets of the FAO. Once the basic authority of the federal government, via the EPA, is legally in place, then in the years to come we will see the implementation of several key agenda items, that look very much like your description of socialism.

Those key items found in every FAO report on agriculture or livestock would be: a)Governmental Command and Control, b) Capital and Knowledge requirements to meet FAO directed land policies, and thus c) Governmental aid to small landholders to assist them in finding Alternative Livelihoods.

Oddly, our news media ignores these FAO themes, and follows the lead of the FAO's own press as to what is most significant in their official reports on global ag.

Effectively, the FAO is after redistribution and control of the largest land holdings in this world by large corporate interests, or directly by governments. Surely that will be socialism at its finest and most effective - the socialism of our daily bread.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 20, 2010:

prettydarkhorse--- You are welcome. Thank you for your openness about youthful idealism. You know what they say: A young Conservative has no heart; and old Liberal has no brain.

OpinionDuck on March 20, 2010:

Charles James system is perfect

Yes but there are systems that are totally imperfect.

2.decisions need making in a democratic way.

Absolutely, ambiguous.

The current Healthcare Bill is not being done democratically as the Congress and the President want to exclude the will of the people and ignore the people that voted for the opposition to the bill.

3.for this to work we need an informed democracy.

Another totally ambiguous statement.

What is democracy and who is to be informed?

4.failings of capitalism do exist but that does not mean capitalism is utterly without merit

When there is a high government intervention in this country, Capitalism exists in name only, if that.

5. failings of socialism do exist but that does not mean socialism is entirely without merit.

Socialism, should not be confused with humanism.



is like living with your parents even though you are all grown up. When you continue to live with your parents they make all your decisions and take care of you.


is more like moving out of your parents house when you have grown up and want to make your own decisions.

Current day America

is like capitalism, except instead of you making your decisions after you move out from your parents home, your uncle makes your decisions for you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 20, 2010:

newoman53--- You are welcome. Thank you for coming back and adding more of your thoughtful insights. You are a clear thinker.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 20, 2010:

Charles James--- Thank you for coming to visit and for adding to our conversation. Surely, Capitalism requires some basic regulation, of the kind where long term Rule of Law is spelled out for such a period of time as to where it cannot be predicted whom the Law will benefit. This is Blind Justice. Without it, the Government gets into the business of choosing ends when its activities should be restrained to means. I am going to write more about this in a few days.

I see that you value your socialized medicine. I have read several articles by your countryman, Theodore Dalrymple, who makes the opposite argument forcefully. No one is denied health care in America. That is a myth drummed up by those who would have government encroach further onto our Freedom to be individuals, something cherished by Americans who understand the history of our nation.

I am all for cooperatives buying grocery stores. That is Capitalism. I am against the Government buying grocery stores--or worse--simply taking them. That is Socialism.

As for your five points that you close with, I certainly agree with the first four.

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on March 20, 2010:

James, you have done it again. You have another fantastic, and interesting hub.

JOE BARNETT on March 19, 2010:


"The concept of separating church and state is often credited to the writings of English philosopher John Locke.[3] According to his principle of the social contract, Locke argued that the government lacked authority in the realm of individual conscience, as this was something rational people could not cede to the government for it or others to control. For Locke, this created a natural right in the liberty of conscience, which he argued must therefore remain protected from any government authority. These views on religious tolerance and the importance of individual conscience, along with his social contract, became particularly influential in the American colonies and the drafting of the United States Constitution.[24] Indeed such was Locke's influence, Thomas Jefferson stated".

why is this so hard for everyone to grasp! it's not , they just refuse too and they call the people that repeat locke and jefferson haters.We could be called repeaters maybe, nothing else and i'm guessing thats why they voted jefferson out for john calvin so they can begin the twisting of words and before ya know it the white house will be called " The White Tabernacle". you would think that the constitutionalists(republicans) would be especially happy,not so. I see this as a mini step towards revisionist history and linda that is what is dangerous and like you suggest then no one would know from where we come would we?

So you see whatever decisions are made in school should, according to your forefathers and mine be kept separate from religion. So if people are trying to put religion in, then who is wrong? Also i can understand you may not like separation but it is what it is! debate is healthy! enlighten me

prettydarkhorse from US on March 19, 2010:

Hi Sir, when I was in college, I am a fan of Karl Marx and other socialist like Che Guevarra et al, they have nice ideals -- nice ideals only, but the practice is of course difficult, I think socialism is a dream -- and until at least there is moral revolution -- we are doomed!Thank you Sir, Maita

newoman53 from Utah on March 19, 2010:

Thanks James,

It is important for people to know where we are coming from in order to "know where we are going". When we are blinded to the Truth, how can we make good decisions? Precisely what the government had in mind when they were re-writting the text books !

Charles James on March 19, 2010:

I thank you for opening up this debate, even if it seems a bit one sided. I suspect most of us socialists tend not to become hubbers, but as hubbing becomes more popular there will be more hubbers who are socialists.

Even in the USA you do not have unrestricted capitalism. The reason it is not unrestricted is because capitalists have proved they cannot be trusted. The democracy in which you operate has had to regulate some aspects of capitalism. There are laws about pollution, about product liability, Glass Steigal (repealed but likely to come back again), discrimination by gender or race, and freedom of speech.

Ralph Nader was pilloried at the time for his campaigning about seat belts, but that argument has been won.

The choice is not between unrestricted capitalism and unrestricted socialism, but what structure will work for society. As a Brit I really value our National Health Service. We have virtually universal coverage, and free at the point of use. The Americans, for all their wealth as a society, have a quarter of their population without health insurance - which results in physical pain to millions and poverty and loss of opportunity to millions more.

The Cooperative movement in the UK is doing very well at present, buying up failed capitalist supermarket chains. Another company with profit sharing, the John Lewis Group, also does very well.

When so much of the press is owned by the extremely wealthy, is the truth getting through? Many contributors so far look at the excesses in the former Soviet Union and think thet was socialism. That is equivalent to saying that the capitalist dictators in South America are the epitome of capitalism.

To move this conversation on, perhaps we should start by accepting system is perfect

2.decisions need making in a democratic way.

3.for this to work we need an informed democracy.

4.failings of capitalism do exist but that does not mean capitalism is utterly without merit

5. failings of socialism do exist but that does not mean socialism is entirely without merit.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 18, 2010:

eldritch---"National Socialism" is on the opposite political end of the spectrum from Marxist socialism proper. There is absolutely no argument on that point amongst any serious political theorists of the right or left, it is a misconception that exists solely amongst intellectually backward Americans."

I don't want to appear backward but I don't agree with this at all. The opposite of Totalitarianism is Libertarianism--not another version of Totalitarianism. The NAZI's were Socialists according to Joseph Schumpeter, Friedrich Hayek, and Richard Pipes--- just to name three unbackward world class intellectuals. And the Nazis considered themselves to be Socialists--that's what NAZI means, for God's sakes.

And then this:

"Most Eastern Europeans had little love for communism but even less for American-style freemarket capitalism which led to economic collapse worse than what preceded it."

I must say that I only know about dozen people personally who lived behind the Iron Curtain but they tell me that except in Russia proper the people over there are thrilled with Capitalism and the economies are doing great. Some Russians miss their Empire. You think any Poles, East Germans, Hungarians, or Czechs want to go back to Socialism? Surely thou dost jest.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 18, 2010:

OpinionDuck--- Then we are in concurrence. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 18, 2010:

newoman53--- Thank you so much for bringing these facts to light. I must repeat at least some of them:

"The Texas Board rejected the anti-Christian crowd's proposal to eliminate the use of B.C. and A.D. for historic dates, as in Before Christ and Anno Domini, and replace them with B.C.E., as in Before the Common Era, and C.E. . . . the deceptive claim that the United States was founded on a "separation of church and state" gets the ax, and rightfully so. In fact, most of the original 13 colonies were founded as Christian communities with much overlap between church and state."

All states had a state religion except one in 1776. You also wrote:

"The unelected education "experts" proposed their history revisions, such as eliminating Independence Day, Christopher Columbus, Thomas Edison, Daniel Boone and Neil Armstrong, and replacing Christmas with Diwali. . . . After a public outcry, the SBOE responded with common-sense improvements. Thomas Edison, the world's greatest inventor, will be again included in the narrative of American history. . . . Schoolchildren will no longer be misled into believing that capitalism and the free market are dirty words and that America has an unjust economic system. Instead, they will learn how the free-enterprise system gave our nation and the world so much that is good for so many people."

Anybody should be appalled at what these dirty bastards were up to. Pardon my French. Thank God some real Americans stood up for the truth. Which is not what was reported on MSNBC, Joe.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 18, 2010:

J D Murrah--- Thank you. I must say, J D, you are quite the historian. I always learn new facts from you every time you come by. I appreciate that, too. In your comments here alone, I learned things I did not know about Owen, Marx, Engles, Weber, Clinton, and Pinkerton. I have read several accounts of the 1848 revolutions but I will read up on them again before I wrote more on this subject. Thanks for the learned remarks.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 18, 2010:

BDazzler--- You're welcome. No infringement at all--I welcome a robust conversation. In fact, I enjoy it thoroughly. Feel free.

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