Socialism Vs. Capitalism . . . Really?


It seems that the common political theme of the day is a Socialism Vs. Capitalism debate. We are all familiar with both sides of the debate from a general perspective . . . but there is another perspective that is often overlooked, subsidies.

While many complain that capitalism is not working for us today, what we don’t realize is that we are actually working in a highly sophisticated socialism that is infecting us with diseases and hiding from us under the facade of capitalism.

Hailing back to my policy debating days, I remember spending hours pouring over the statistics and realities of farm life in modern America. Most simply put, when we purchase food at the store, the 99 cents per pound that we pay for produce is only possible because we have already paid a large down payment. The prices are only possible because our taxes have already paid for the price to stay low.

Wait . . . that is a redistribution of wealth.

The beauty of capitalism is that the currency of the consumer dictates what gets supported and what fails. This is not what we have now. As I said, we are actually living under a covert socialism that sends money to predetermined sources. Those who can lobby most are supported over those who the industry favors.

Our current system is socialism at its core . . . not capitalism.

What do we have to profit from this industry that is artificially “favored”?

Well, E. coli . . . trace its origin. It came after subsidies.

There is no competition. In reality, our food is produced by only a couple companies who receive the subsidies. Healthier, safer, farms producing better food cannot compete. This is not because the consumer would not favor the product, but because the favorability of the product has already been determined by subsidies.

I guarantee you, remove subsidies and make the playing field level, most of the big producers that are “favored” today would fall overnight and new, cleaner, safer producers would arise. Capitalism, if let to work without interference, will work.

7 thoughts on “Socialism Vs. Capitalism . . . Really?”

  1. I would agree that there is substantial and possibly even pervasive socialism in our system. However, I would not agree socialism is at the "core" of the current American economic system.

    I would say instead it is a primarily capitalistic system with significant bureaucratic determinism and meddling. Socialism is where the government (ideally society itself) controls the means of production. In our system the government primarily meddles in the distribution and apportionment of the commodities after initial production has already occured. Meddling with distribution affects the production as it insulates the producer from the consumer, but it is far from outright control.
    My recent post Share The Sacrifice

  2. However, it can be argued that, by choosing (through subsidies) which products to distribute and how and where to distribute them, the government is actually dictating production. As an example, the government is primarily subsidizing genetically modified grain while giving almost nothing to natural producers. This artificially reduced price then dictates a fake demand for genetically engineered grain, leading to a preference for the production of genetically engineered grain.

    1. What about Whole Earth, Trader Joe's, Mountain People's Warehouse, and
      other natural food distributors? They are feeding the market for
      natural and organic foods, supporting small farmers, and providing the
      wealth of the well managed ground to the beck and call of well-heeled
      people everywhere.

      Meddling in the distribution does affect the production, but by not
      prohibiting the growth and sale of non-gmo they are not controlling.

      And regarding gmo food: there are precious few things in this world
      that are not genetically modified. While our methods have changed from
      cross pollination and fertilization to selective gene choice and
      splicing, it's still gmo. There have been problems as we short sighted
      humans tend to ignore the law of unintended consequences, but the
      failures have been much less fearsome than the successes have been

      Be careful which bug bears you highlight, some are legitimate, some aren't.

      1. A couple things. First, I think both your arguments side-stepped what I was really trying to communicate.

        While private distributors are increasingly expanding the market share of alternate farming, the playing field is still not level. By this I do not mean that it should be "fair" with the government stepping in to mediate prices, but I mean that the field will be level when a company is required to live exclusively on its profits. When that happens, the prices of Tyson package chicken and other non-organic foods will increase and the forces of capitalism will be able to work unhampered.

        Whether changing distribution effects production is not the real argument. While I would argue that it does because an artificially better distribution equals an artificially better production, the reality is that subsidies are not distribution based. Subsidies are actually directly production based. The subsidy money is used to encourage and discourage farming or just make sure that no farming takes place. This does sound like a manipulation of production.

        As far as GMO's go . . .
        Cows right now use corn as their primary form of grain. Corn is great for us because it has a lot of sugars that we can use, but is horrible for the 5 stomachs of the cow. Bacteria that would not be able to grow with a less nutrient rich food (i.e. grass) are allowed to grow in the cow. 5 days of eating grass would remove 90% of the bacteria, however, the industry instead rinses the beef in ammonia to kill the germs, which it only kills around 50% but exposes us to a harmful organic anion.

        Chickens grow on large chicken farms are once again fed corn and housed in barns where they are two layers deep. They are so heavy that they can only walk 2-3 steps without falling. When the meat is sold, these chickens will have about 36,000 counts of toxins per chicken, compared to traditional farming which will have about 100 counts.

        Are GMO's bad? Very few. But the realities of the cost of the GMO and potential health hazards would be very apparent if the consumer were required to pay for the entire GMO food. After all, if two products were about the same price and one product was rumored to be produced by a major producer and in less than ideal conditions and the other you knew to be from free range . . . what would you buy?

        Organically grow meat can be bought. In fact, Walmart is now pursuing organic products too. However, what is the common reason people don't by these? Price. but, if the subsidies were removed, the cost of feeding, raising, and butchering the cows and chickens would be directly transfered to the consumer and not hidden by government money.

        1. Neither the cow's nor the chicken's plight has anything to do with GMO's as you mentioned in your original argument or as I commented on.

          And your root claim in the original article was that our current economic system is not capitalistic, but socialist at it's core.

          That it a strong statement requiring strong proof. The only proof you offered was that of government meddling through farm subsidies.

          While we have seen many other examples of government intervention in the difficult but normal and, over the long term, good working of capitalism, we still cannot say this is a system that is socialist at it's core.

          We are agreeing on the evidence and reality of the problem and disagreeing on it's name. And for good reason.

          Socialism, at it's core, is much nastier and evil than intervened-in and meddled-with capitalism. It hurts more people and more ideas and growth are stifled through it's much tighter clutches.

          To mislabel the situation is to risk prescribing a too strong or a too weak solution. The too strong solution will further harm the system by throwing the pendulum too far the other way in a reactive and unhealthy manner. While the too weak solution will cause disillusionment when it fails to solve the problem.

          The solution is to remove the farm subsidies and government bailouts and buyouts and harmful and protectionist government regulation and enact legislation preventing them from occurring again while educating the masses in the proper role of government and their need to take personal responsibility.

          The solution is not to change our system from socialism to capitalism.

          1. I am afraid it does though. I strongly contend that a simple removal of government from the market will be all it takes to change us from socialism.

            I could bring up the definition of socialism (government administration of production and distribution), but I am afraid that he idealogy of socialism is larger than the definition.

            As I have mentioned, the government is using public funds (citizen's monies) to support certain products.
            1) This cannot be in anyway called capitalism because the use of subsidies is always accompanied by rules regarding how the products must be made and used. This constriction is always counter-capitalism.
            2) This most be called socialism because the government uses the subsidies to control prices, dictate farmer incomes, dictate product usage, and dictate product creation.

            We commonly refer to the government bail out of car companies as a form of socialism because now the government dictates salaries, production (energy efficient), and distribution. All these factors are already manipulated by the government in the farm bills. The government manipulation is only enhanced by the use of subsidies.

            I cannot call manipulation or control of products capitalism. It is government manipulation, and due to the use of funding as a power tool, it becomes socialism.

          2. Here's the problem: A economy with socialism at it's core is an
            economy where the vast majority of industry and commerce are
            controlled by the government.

            Subsidies for farms and handouts for some banks and a few car
            companies is not the vast majority, by any measure, of the entirety of
            the economy.

            So certain aspects or corners, even some significant ones, are being
            run in a socialistic manner, this is not the entirety of the economy,
            nor even the majority of it.

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