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Posts Tagged ‘socialism’

While the character Joseph Cinque wanted his “free” from slavery in the film Amistad… it is interesting to note a separate group that wants its “free” in education.  Not that I am striving to be the European protest announcer, but tempers have stirred again, and the students in London are not happy about University’s charging fees.  To be honest, I don’t know much about the British school system (perhaps Elijah can provide some insight) and so don’t know if all education is entirely free at the University level or what.  But if Harry Potter has taught me anything it is that the O.W.L’s are tough.

Also again I wish to point out that regardless of the merit of either side’s argument, I doubt that breaking windows and throwing fire extinguishers down from rooftops onto the police is a brave act of protest against… oppression??

When you ask for fees in order to f**k, that is called prostitution young lady. And we won't stand for that

I’m sure some will think it is important to add that the 50,000 students that showed up were intent on peaceful disruption, and that it was a gang of hooligans that got things going.  That said, it didn’t appear to take too much of a spark to get that fire going.

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If you read this site, then you know the title is in jest.  However, I am putting a call out to recommendations of books, websites, or any other material that any CAI readers or authors would recommend as being powerful arguments for socialist or socialist-like policies.  The reason for this request is in anticipation of a small group discussion I will be leading for 4 weeks this summer at my church on capitalism and socialism.  

As evidenced on the “pages” of this blog and also in many other outside discussions I have had with people there is considerable support for redistribution of wealth, and socialization of services amongst Christians.  My feelings are opposed to these views, but I am legitimately curious how people (and Christians in particular) come to embrace it.  And I am hoping in the group to have a equal proportion of capitalists and socialists (or whatever the preferred term is) engage in discourse on the pros and cons of each position and also where they fit into a biblical and gospel-oriented framework.  Since I will be moderating the discussion and hope to be as open as possible to the views of others I wanted to delve further into the literature beyond just The Communist Manifestoerr, the parts I have read at least.

Et tu Jesus?

Et tu Jesus?

Thanks for the help dear readers.

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I have tried very hard to not write too often about my continuing disagreements with president Obama, as that was something that annoyed me to death during W’s presidency when he couldn’t sneeze without people hating him for it.  So I have sat on my hands while I daily read stuff that does perk my interest, but that I don’t think deserves a report from me.

But here’s one that I think is both funny and disturbing at the same time.  It has been in the news for a few days that Obama was going to cut $100 million from his budget.  You think, “Wow, he’s really got this deficit in his cross hairs!”  But you would be wrong.  As George Will points out that:

…$100 million, which is about 13 minutes of federal spending, and 0.0029 percent — about a quarter of one-hundredth of 1 percent — of $3.5 trillion.

So now you think, “By Grabthar’s hammer…. what a savings.”  [anyone, anyone?]

How much is a zillion dollars?

How much is a zillion dollars?

Would you agree, that this is laughable and disturbing simultaneously?  It’s probably not even worth the time of the cabinet to find the $100 million to save, since it amounts to so little.  Will goes on to point out that Obama is also going to “save” $15 million by shutting down a program (which is very popular, and considered successful) in Washington, D.C. that was basically a voucher system to get black and hispanic students out of poorly performing public schools.  Will sees this as a direct pandering to teacher unions who hate vouchers, and who donated significantly to Obama’s campaign – and I agree with Will.

I feel like for some reason American’s have lost all perspective about money.  We each can struggle individually with coming up with a few thousand dollars to pay for our lives, and yet shrug off the fact that $100 million has become less than pocket change to our national government.  Isn’t that a sign that we have, 1) allowed our gov’t to grow too large, and 2) lost the sense of the value of things when money is placed in the hands of others?

MARK ADDS:  Reader Tim had a link to a post with a great image from The Heritage Foundation demonstrating the significance of cutting $100 million.

obamacuts

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The Acton PowerBlog has a few posts on this question.  One of the responses provided by Hunter Baker is from Aristotle in response to Plato’s call to socialism:

What is common to the greatest number gets the least amount of care. People pay most attention to what is their own: they care less for what is common; or, at any rate, they care for it only to the extent to which each is individually concerned. Even when there is no other cause for inattention, people are more prone to neglect their duty when they think that another attending to it . . .

“The Republic advocated that women and children also be common property. What Aristotle wrote about sons applies to other things, as well:”

[Under the plan of The Republic] each citizen will have a thousand sons; they will not be the sons of each citizen individually; any son whatever will be equally the son of any father whatever. The result will be that all will neglect all.

The problem with socialism, I believe, is the same as the “tragedy of the commons“, a theory originally applied to land use.  Common ownership of a resource, or rather lack of any private ownership, will many times cause the improper use of that resource.  In addition to the environmental application of this theory, I also think it most definitely applies to ideas like universal health coverage, social security, and even our government’s attempt at spreading wealth through the Community Reinvestment Act that is the cause of our real estate collapse.

When the reward of a certain behavior is limited to specific individuals, but the risk or damage of that same behavior is spread to society at large… then there is no impetus for those specific individuals to not engage in that act.

There are some other good posts on this subject at Acton, so I encourage you to check it out.

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One of the tenets of capitalism that most people fail to recognize properly is that of the power of private interests.  This phrase can readily conjure the word greed in most peoples minds: when you serve your private interests over the public good you are being greedy.  And people certainly can be greedy, but it is this very allowance that ends up serving the public good.

Milton Friedman (In my opinion the C.S. Lewis of economics, in so much that he can explain difficult things ever so clearly) discusses this quite a bit in his book Capitalism and Freedom.  If a baker bakes bread, he does so so that he can make money and provide for his family, not because he has an overwhelming desire to feed the world (though he may very well feel that).  In his practicing his skill and pursuing his own personal interests he is providing the very goods that the public needs.  Our entire economy is based on this micro example and the practice works up and down the supply chain.  The person who sold the flour to the baker did not do so because he wants to feed the world, but for his own private interest.  The farmer who planted and reaped the grain to make the flour did so for his own personal interest.  Even the person who bought the bread, did not do so to help the baker, but himself.  All these people work together unknowingly because of market forces and end up providing us with what we need.  If all of a sudden people did not want bread but are buying rice instead, then the baker notices and buys less flour, and by recourse the farmer changes crops, or changes occupation, who knows.  Either way they are all responding to numerous private interests to provide what is wanted and needed.

It is in this way that socialism fails.  In controlled economies where a few people try to determine what is best for the public, all those signals from the market are much harder to monitor.  People want rice, but guess what?  The farmer is still planting wheat, because that is what he was told to do by the planners, not the people.  So there is not enough rice for the demand and too much bread.  This is obviously a simplified example (and doesn’t even take into account price and how the market understands that better than central planners), but it serves to demonstrate the role of private interests in determining what is best for the public good.  The role of physicians, bakers, lawyers, etc. were all born out of this need of the public.  Not at the bequest of a king, or a central planner.

Does capitalism’s lack of social justice as a determiner make it flawed.  Hardly.  It is the very thing that allows society to respond to needs and provide what is lacking.  Central planning has historically led to one thing:

21bread

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