socialism

socialism


What Do We Deserve? Moral Desert & Entitlement

moral desert January 21st, 2020

What does a person – let’s confine it to Americans in this blog – deserve? In philosophy, it is termed moral dessert. That is, as a member of society, what rights does one have to goods and benefits and opportunities? Contrast dessert (sometimes spelled desert) with entitlement – the rights one has based on law, contracts, and agreements. In this piece, I want to dilate on this topic, and to that end, will share a brief discussion a friend and I had. You may not be surprised to learn that I take a generally liberal position, and my friend, a fairly libertarian one. I am more likely to see, optimistically, that people deserve opportunity, chances, and help from society at large (i.e., the institutions of government and associated social welfare provisions). You can expect, of course, to see apt quotations brought to bear on the dialogue.

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Are Human Beings Selfish?

are human beings selfish? October 23rd, 2019

I thought about the question, Are human beings selfish?, when I received this snippet of an article from a friend: “Advocates of capitalism understand, as the classical economists understood centuries ago, that government and social institutions must be designed for the human beings that actually exist — callous self-interest and all.” That thought, from The Mises Institute, a capitalistic/libertarian think tank, is making a fair point that can be examined to see how fully and completely true it is. That is what I will do in this blog. As a sneak peek, my answer to the question, Are human beings selfish? will be “Yes, to some degree, but not to the exclusion of all other high values.”

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Democrats Make a Move Toward Progressive Politics

progressive politics August 28th, 2018

Boy, was I angry at the Democratic National Committee’s treatment of Bernie Sanders in 2016. Their chicanery (supporting Clinton for the nominee for patently political reasons) really rubbed me the wrong way. That cynical and corrupt situation plus a lot of Bernie supporters being unenamored with Hilary Clinton probably swung the election, because I believe Sanders would have prevailed in a few of the states Clinton lost. I mean, she didn’t even visit Pennsylvania, and Sanders had a robust following in many of those blue-collar swing states. It all added up to a bunch of crap, if you ask me. We are now enjoying the worst presidency in American history – an embarrassment for us in 2016, since we have so much more information and better education than they did during Pierce’s or Taft’s presidencies. We are supposed to be going in a progressive direction, but at least since 1980 there has been a reactionary counterforce in place, most notably perhaps with Donald Trump. Democrats made a big step a couple days ago that will help this whole country.

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Is Capitalism a Sustainable Economic System?

is capitalism a sustainable economic system? August 23rd, 2018

Is capitalism a sustainable economic system? There are many facts, opinions, and even biases held by countless people. Everyone has heard “Socialism is _______” or “The problem with capitalism is ___________.” This is certainly a question that interests me. I tend to come down on the side of capitalism where it meets democratic socialism. That is, the government (comprised of responsible and accountable citizens) owns some public resources, and individuals and to some degree corporations own the remainder. The amount of money that one can make from profit-seeking ventures is limited by a very progressive taxation scheme. One of the sharpest minds is the liberal author, professor, and former Secretary of Labor, Robert S. Reich, and he wrote a book, Saving Capitalism, that helps to answer the critical and timely questions, Is capitalism a sustainable economic system? Is capitalism just and fair? What can socialism and other approaches offer capitalism to help preserve the planet, care for people, and yet allow profit-making? This blog features Robert Reich quotes from his very readable book, Saving Capitalism.

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A Case for Socialism in Modern America

socialism August 9th, 2018

There are few topics in the United States that get beat down like a hammer pounding a nail into a board than socialism. It’s as if the very word is a curse or slander of something dear to you. One hears: “Socialism in the US, I’d rather DIE first!”; “You’re a Socialist?? then go live somewhere where you’re wanted!”; “Creeping Socialism is like weeds in a garden; once it gets started, it spreads everywhere!” In this guest blog, economist and author Carl Conrad opines on what socialism is, what it isn’t, and why it is a necessary and useful bulwark against runaway capitalism.

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Philosophical Fundamentals: Marxism

Marxism July 24th, 2018

Marxism is a philosophical, political and social movement derived from the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1829 – 1895) in the second half of the 19th Century. It is a theoretical-practical framework based on the analysis of “the conflicts between the powerful and the subjugated” with working-class self-emancipation as its goal. It promotes a pure form of Socialism and provides the intellectual base for various subsequent forms of Communism. According

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Libertarian Quotes by Scholar David Boaz

libertarian February 6th, 2018

One modern expert on libertarian thought is Cato Institute scholar, David Boaz. I enjoyed reading his book The Libertarian Reader. Another interesting book seems to be Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom. He really knows the subject well, and for those who are interested in the strengths of the philosophy, he (and the myriad contributors to the compendium) lays it out clearly. I personally am not a libertarian per say, but I do see libertarianism as offering some “leavening” for my generally progressive outlook. Enjoy these David Boaz quotes: 

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Critiques of Capitalism (Part 4)

critiques of capitalism November 8th, 2017

There are many critiques of capitalism, based both on theory and on actual results. This blog is the fourth in a series of five entitled Critiques of Capitalism, and represents my third argument against laissez-faire capitalism as the ideal economic system. The thrust of the argument is that to combat runaway capitalism, government needs to be made the servant of the people. Many countries have a corporate sector that is more appropriate, regulated, and benign. We must do that here in America, as well.

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“Money Values” vs. “Life Values” (V&E-8)

money values October 22nd, 2017

The following piece, “‘Money Values’ vs. ‘Life Values'” is chapter 8 in the book Values & Ethics: From Living Room to Boardroom (itself based on an Internet-based talk radio show of the same name I did in times past).  My educated and humane partner in dialogue is noted author and thought leader, Kevin Danaher, Ph.D. His words are indicated by the initials K.D., and mine are J.M. For paragraphs with no initials, assume they are a continuation of the speaker who was speaking in the previous paragraph. I highlight words having to do with values and virtues by placing them in boldface type. Enjoy this look at “money values” vs. “life values,” based on Kevin’s characterization of two ways of organizing our economic system.

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Healthcare: Comparing the U.S. to the Leaders

healthcare October 15th, 2017

I came across an article that is so good, I have to take from it liberally. If the New York Times is miffed and wants me to take it down, sure, of course I will. But in the meantime, you will learn a lot about healthcare!  Basically, in this article, the authors, Aaron Carroll and Austin Frakt opine about two-way matchups between eight different countries when it comes to the healthcare systems they have in place to insure and care for the health of their respective citizens. This is like a round-robin tournament comparing the strengths and weaknesses of various healthcare systems to each other. The article does go into more detail, and is worth a read if you’re that interested. Let the games begin!

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