Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Why I'm a socialist

I believe that a society should be based on empathy and a sharing of burdens.  I also don't support the idea of governments being judgemental about how people live their lives - for example, there should not be government concerns about enforcing the 'Protestant Work Ethic'.   Although there have been many changes, our Western societies are still rather stuck in a class-based view of how things should be organised:  the deserving wealthy upper class have got where they are through hard work or good breeding and should clearly have advantages over the lesser and feckless lower classes who, if they were given too much in the way of benefits, would do nothing but sit around drinking beer and watching reality TV.  In between are the middle classes, who aspire to being financially upper class, but manage to get by without particular hardship or any great happiness.

The economic situation today is that there is vast wealth in our societies, combined with an extreme imbalance of distribution of wealth.  The reason is that over the past few decades taxes for the higher income brackets have been cut dramatically based on some vague idea of wealth trickling down, and at the same time investments activities have been de-regulated allowing the savings and mortgages and pensions of the middle and lower classes to be used in vast risky gambles by investors, gambles which resulted eventually in the 2008 crash.  And, of course, it has been the middle and lower classes who have had to pay the price of those gambles in the form of austerity measures.

This simply isn't necessary.  The vast wealth around today (literally trillions of dollars in tax havens) only needs to be slightly redistributed to remove the need for any austerity measures at all.  Policies such as the Robin Hood tax on banking would mean that universal health care could be provided at no cost to the users of that health care.  Cuts in astronomical defence spending would mean that quality education to university level could be provided at no cost to the students or their families.

Finally, benefits could be provided even to those who can't be bothered to work, benefits which would anyway be fed back into the economy through the consumption of goods and services.  

We are vastly wealthy societies.  That's why I'm a socialist, and why I believe in universal education and universal health. 

1 comment:

Diacanu said...

I've come to the conclusion that hierarchical pecking order societies all require 1.) scapegoats 2.) child abuse.

I used to think those were a glitch, but I've realized that they are a feature.

So, I oppose all hierarchy.
Socialism gets closest to the world I'd prefer, but I'm thinking even that stops short.