Tag Archives | Socialism

Want Less Inequality? Tax It

Wikimedia Commons (CC)

British economist Arthur C. Pigou, friend and contemporary of beloved John Maynard Keynes, eventually not only came around to the Keynesian logic, but also expanded on the common-sense philosophy to promote social balance and checks with the gentle, invisible hand of the Public. By incentivizing what benefits the downtrodden (perhaps with subsidies) and disincentivizing poor practices (by taxing rampant, unregulated profits), a more reasonable parity between the classes could be reached, stimulating economic growth and benefiting everyone.

This doesn’t have to be a ‘redistributive’ scheme that pits neoconservatives against progressives. Indeed, such a rational, gradated, and bracketed system makes sense to anyone who believes in the American traditions of pragmatism, equality, openness, innovation and opportunity.

Via the American Prospect by Liam C. Malloy and John Case

But the conventional strategy for fighting inequality—far higher taxes on the rich—usually rests on a foundation of fairness, and the question of what’s fair and what’s unfair turns out to cut different ways, depending on your point of view.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Hitler Was Not a Leftist

Picture: Public Doman

Most people will respond to the title of this post with “No duh!”  But there’s been a lot of effort by conservatives on the Internet to portray Hitler as a leftist.  After all, economic laissez-faire is the sole definition of the right, and anything else is therefore left, right?

Wrong.  No true, intelligent libertarian accepts the one-dimensional left/right political spectrum as accurate, which is why they’ve proposed a two-dimensional political compass.  And as I posted a while back, Noah Millman has proposed an even more descriptive three-dimensional political taxonomy.

While I don’t agree with all the points presented in the following article, enough of them are true to prove that while the Nazis may or may not have been true right-wingers, they certainly weren’t leftists.  (For the record, they viewed themselves as syncretists, not that you have to take their word for it.)

Steve Kangas writes:

Myth: Hitler was a leftist.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Glenn Greenwald: How America’s Surveillance State Breeds Conformity and Fear

Glenn Greenwald (CC)

Via Alternet:

Once the government is able to monitor everything we do and say, we will be unable to fight back.

Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of a speech delivered by Glenn Greenwald at this month’s Socialism 2012 conference, on the massive growth of government and corporate surveillance and their chilling effects on Americans’ rights.

Last year was my maiden trip to the Socialism 2012 world. I started off by standing up and saying — I was actually surprised by this, pleasantly surprised, because I didn’t know what to expect — how amazingly inspirational I actually found this conference to be. The energy of activism and the sophisticated level of the conversation and the commitment that people displayed and the diversity of the attendees, really is unlike any other conference. And so when I was asked back this year, I was super excited to come back and accept.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Is Democracy An Illusion?

Karl MarxJohn Stoehr writes on Al Jazeera:

In the US, the dominant political discourse consists of ideas put forth by the ruling class.

Karl Marx never visited the United States, but he nevertheless understood the country, because he understood capitalism. As you know, there’s no American ideology that’s mightier than capitalism. Equality, justice and the rule of law are nice and all, but money talks.

In their 1846 book The German Ideology, Marx and co-author Frederick Engels took a look at human history and made a plain but controversial observation. In any given historical period, the ideas that people generally think are the best and most important ideas are usually the ideas of the people in charge. If you have a lot of money and own a lot of property, then you have the power to propagandise your worldview and you have incentive to avoid appearing as if you’re propagandising your worldview.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Socialism More Popular Than Capitalism Among Millennials

full_1325738615socialismHere’s what the kids are into: sexting, Bieber, and dialectical Marxism. Good writes:

According to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 49 percent of [people] age 18 to 29 view socialism in a favorable light, compared to 43 percent who view it unfavorably. What’s more, they like the sound of “socialism” slightly better than capitalism—46 percent have positive views of capitalism, and 47 percent have negative views. This is dramatically different from the country’s population overall: 60 percent say they have a negative view of socialism, versus just 31 percent who say they have a positive view. Young people are the only age group whose support for socialism outweighs that of capitalism.

It’s telling that the number of socialism-friendly young people is on the rise from just 20 months ago, when 43 percent of Millennials favored the word. Between now and then, Occupy Wall Street has swept the country and the headlines, and there are more unemployed teens and 20-somethings than ever.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Pope Benedict Peace Message Calls For Wealth Redistribution

Pope BenedictWait a second — does this make Paul Ryan and Newt Gingrich a couple o' them "Cafeteria Catholics"? From Francis X. Rocca at the Huffington Post:
VATICAN CITY (RNS)— Noting a "rising sense of frustration" at the worldwide economic recession, Pope Benedict XVI said that a more just and peaceful world requires "adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth." The pope's words appeared in his message for the World Day of Peace 2012, released on Friday (Dec. 16) at the Vatican. The message laments that "some currents of modern culture, built upon rationalist and individualist economic principles, have cut off the concept of justice from its transcendent roots, detaching it from charity and solidarity." Authentic education, Benedict writes, teaches the proper use of freedom with "respect for oneself and others, including those whose way of being and living differs greatly from one's own."
Continue Reading

Worker-Owners of America, Unite!

Gar Alperovitz chimes in on the re-evolutionary convergence of capitalism and socialism into a hybrid paradigm in a recent article in the NY Times:

The Occupy Wall Street protests have come and mostly gone, and whether they continue to have an impact or not, they have brought an astounding fact to the public’s attention: a mere 1 percent of Americans own just under half of the country’s financial assets and other investments. America, it would seem, is less equitable than ever, thanks to our no-holds-barred capitalist system.

But at another level, something different has been quietly brewing in recent decades: more and more Americans are involved in co-ops, worker-owned companies and other alternatives to the traditional capitalist model. We may, in fact, be moving toward a hybrid system, something different from both traditional capitalism and socialism, without anyone even noticing.

Some 130 million Americans, for example, now participate in the ownership of co-op businesses and credit unions.

Read the rest
Continue Reading