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I Luv Tables 1: Socialism VS Liberalism

May 12, 2007

I hate it when people invent beautiful names to hide ugly things. That’s the case with liberalism. See? That’s a nice word. Li-be-ral. It convolves with freedom, smiling people, flowers, love. It convolves with everything that an advertiser would put in an ideal life.

On the other hand there is Socialism. Well, not much of a name, is it? It just reminds me of green and red flags, bearded boring people and charming (not boring at all) girls. Not the advertiser’s kind of stuff.

Yet, the word is much like the wrapper that a product comes with. You won’t eat the wrapper. You’re gonna eat the product. So, let’s see what’s for food:

Neo-Liberal (Conservative) Paradigm

Social Democratic Paradigm

Main Loyalty

Business Corporations

The Public Good (Civil Society)

Economic Ethic

Economic Efficiency and Corporate Profits

High Employment and Economic Equality

Favoured Institutions

Transnational Corporations, the IMF, the World Bank, the World
Trade Organization

Democratically-elected legislatures, citizen groups, labour
unions, environmental organizations

Position on Government Intervention

“Night Watchman” State: Minimal government regulation of
the economy; profits come first; skepticism about ecological
concerns

Welfare State: Moderate to high government regulation;
Keynsian interventions when needed; social equality trumps
corporate profits; ecological concerns real

Public Services that should be run by the State

Police, Armed Forces, Primary Education, basic infrastructure
(though not especially utilities)

Police, Armed Forces, Water, Gas, Electricity, Parks and
Nature Preserves, Health Care, Education, Infrastructure (e.g.
roads), some Transportation (e.g. national airline), some
Communications (e.g. state-run television network), Post Office

Position on International Trade and Finance

Free trade; floating exchange rates; disciplining of weak
economies by a “free” market and stricter controls on
deficit-spending governments by refusing World Bank/IMF
assistance

Regulated trade: national tariffs and subsidies are
acceptable; regulation or fixing of exchange rates; more
consideration to be given to developing countries which fall
behind on loan payments

Or to put it as Rosa Luxeburg once did: “Socialism Or Barbarism“.
Our choice.

Credit:
Table was copied verbatim from the homepage of Doug Mann. It is here but his whole site is more than interesting.

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10 comments

  1. The reality though has shown that socialism leads to barbarism and liberalism leads to prosperity.


  2. I don’t think so.
    Reality has shown that Stalinism (a thing quite different than Socialism and Communism) leads to barbarism. Social democratic paradigms lead to Sweden (for countries that started from a good starting point) or Venezuela (for countries that start from being colonies). Sweden hasn’t seen barbarians for ages and Venezuela elected a Social-democrat for the third time in a row.

    On the other hand liberalism lead to Iraq, sweatshops, wages that can’t buy you a house (unless your parents provide for it and that’s even if you’ve been in university for 10 years), rich getting richer, poor getting poorer, education getting shallower (it has to if it is to be economic efficient and tied to corporations), diminishing civil liberties, Corporations running the world, patents that cover every aspect of human knowledge, etc.

    It’s funny that the guy you’re pointing at comes from a Social-democrat country (Sweden) that got so advanced economically and socially thanks to Social democratic. Spiting where he’s eating I’d say. What’s more he’s talking nonsense. Naomi Klein’s book has nothing of “anecdotal pleading”. What does he mean by “you can’t compare working life standards in poor countries with those of affluent countries, because productivity there is much lower”. Jesus man. Sweatshops are a must for globalized capitalism (or libertarianism if you want). He’s trying to prove that Earth isn’t round or what?

    Anyway. I guess you could provide more links to smiling guys like him that support the system we are living in. I, on the other hand, could provide for a news portal or just seeing how life goes on in the system we’re living in. It’s not a matter of providing smart rhetorics. It’s the reality that hits me in the face and that reality isn’t nice at all. (Oh, and btw, this guy said not a word about ripping off the planet we’re living in.)


  3. you simply can’t mix stalinism and communism. i was born in communist yugoslavia, which was the only european communist country outside the warsaw pact and the only rich communist country ever. therefore, i have spent my childhood in social paradise where nobody was rich, but neither there were poor ppl… everybody belonged to middle class. (communism didn’t destroy yugoslavia – nationalism, pseudopatriotism and civil wars did)… still, after the decade of wars, srebia has twice higher life standard than some (new) eu countries…

    yugoslavia showed that REAL communism (not stalinism) is good (with some modifications) and i’d like to live in a country similar to one i was born in… though, the reality is that communism has to grow out from rich & developed capitalism… which was easy for yugoslavia since before the ww2 it was the 6th richest country in europe… now, after the decade of was, we’ll have to wait until we get rich again so we could start thinking about some form of communism again… but i don’t understand what is greece waiting for!?


  4. Dear Dule, your personal experience makes your comment worth gold :-). The way things were in Communist Yugoslavia is weirdly forgotten in mainstream criticism of communism. Somehow only the Stalinist USSR is to be remembered.

    …I don’t know what Greece is waiting for. Maybe we need the story to evolve in reverse and start thinking about a change when we work for wages next to nothing.

    Thank you for commenting pal.


  5. You think that liberalism isnt good ’cause you lack of data.

    Social-democracy in Sweden was built upon the wealth that liberal policies created.

    I’d say that Sweden is more libertarian than socialist.
    “Coming from Sweden I also notice that, on many of the issues Mr Lind mentions, my home country is turning towards libertarian practice. Sweden adopted school vouchers in the early 1990s. Many Swedish children now attend private, for-profit schools. The Swedish governmental pension system has been reformed – the system will never pay out more than comes in, and it is partly privatised and fully funded. Major state-owned companies have been sold out, many markets deregulated. Even nuclear power plants have been sold to foreign owners. There is no minimum wage. Immigration from the 25 European Union members is free.

    The socialist government, with the support of the former Communist party, recently abolished the inheritance tax and the gift tax. Healthcare is to a growing degree produced by private companies – one of the largest hospitals in Stockholm is owned by a for-profit company listed on the stock exchange. The underground in the capital is run by a French company. The taxi business is open for entry and without regulation regarding fares. And the Swedish edition of Ayn Rand´s Atlas Shrugged has sold more than 10,000 copies since last year. This is just to mention a few examples.” – Mattias Bengtsson

    “liberalism lead to Iraq, sweatshops, wages that can’t buy you a house”

    Liberalism has nothing to do with Iraq, all the libertarian think tanks were against the invasion. Iraq has to do with Statism. The enemy is the State, not free markets and free trade.

    Without the “sweatshops” these poor countries would never get out of poverty. Taiwan was like the poor countries of today, a “sweatshop” country, now it has the living standards of Spain! It was as poor as Kenya , Kenya followed the statist way amd now it is still a poor country. Same thing with North and South Korea. Same thing with Hong Kong which has european living standards now. Hell even the european countries passed that phase. Do you think that the poor countries can pass from rag to riches with socialism? 🙂

    “wages that can’t buy you a house (unless your parents provide for it and that’s even if you’ve been in university for 10 years), rich getting richer, poor getting poorer”

    Here in Greece we have the greatest percentage of owning a house in the EU. The wages are rising in the Third world. The poor are getting richer in the same way the asian tigers did, not with some socialist-magic.

    “extreme poverty in developing countries has been reduced from 40.3% to 18.4% between 1981 and 2004, and in absolute numbers it has been reduced from 1,479 million to 985 million. Almost half a billion fewer are poor, even though world population increased by almost 2 billion during the same time!” – Johan Norberg

    “Sweatshops are a must for globalized capitalism”

    I wouldn’t say that. 80 percent of U.S. outward manufacturing direct investment flows to other high-income, high-standard economies, such as the European Union, Canada, and Australia. This thing is changing with China etc but this changes also the economic situation in the counties that are globalising their economies.


  6. Gee! I’m flattered to say the least. That’s a long commend. So I figure that
    1. Either this post of mine was a major hit in Greek blogosphere (which meant you had to answer it as thoroughly as you could). Yet, I see my statistics and that’s not the case.

    2. Or you are really a serious believer of libertarianism, apt to answer to every criticism against it (which I found to be the most possible scenario and it’s kind of honoring for it’s really rare to see anyone really believing in something these days.)

    Yet, as much as you believe in libertarianism, I don’t. Watch it. I said “believe” because all that we’re doing here is theoretical conversations based on bits of fact. I for one have never lived in a Socialist country to tell you how it is and you have never been in a “sweatshop” (quotes are yours) to be eligible to say that word among quotes. You’ve been in Sweden but if I was to pick a random country to represent the planet situation I wouldn’t pick Sweden. So, with the precautions I just noted let me contradict your arguments.

    1. Sweden getting libertarian: Yes, it may does. I hear that too. Could that mean that even a rich light social democracy isn’t to be tolerable by capitalism as it gives the bad example? It could, if you accept that many of workers rights were conquered in the west as a way to defuse a communist trend that could be dangerous as long as USSR was still there. Still, a country that got to be so rich can do any experiment it likes. That doesn’t mean much for Greece.
    (I also mention Venezuela’s and the whole of Latin-America’s social-democrat turn. People there seem to go much better than when they followed a capitalist paradigm.)

    2. About Iraq: Of course libertarian thought didn’t led to Iraq. Capitalism did. Why Capitalism inevitably leads to imperialism is well documented at many places. Just google it. Where Capitalism is different to Liberalism should be more of an answer to the Iraq situation.

    3. Sweatshops: I don’t remember sweatshops in Greece. And we had really black periods during our history. I can’t also recall sweatshops in Yugoslavia or any other former Communist country. Yet, I’m sure you can hear about sweatshops in such countries now that they joined capitalism. All the while, sweatshops aren’t the road to success simply because corporations are quick to move on to the next poor country as soon as workers start asking for more (which is as soon as countries do start to get out of poverty). You can see the documentary “The corporation” for case stories. (Taiwan and Hong Kong are a strange story mixing politics and economy so I wouldn’t take them for a generic example too).

    4. About passing from rugs to riches: I’m sorry but I think that humanity has been long enough in possession of the technical means for providing every human being on the planet with food and shelter. I don’t understand why advanced west (which advanced mainly by ripping off third world countries – see Nigeria for an example) has to put those countries under a “now you have to reach us by working this or that way”. WE OWE THEM. WE RIPED THEM OFF during colonization and later on with globalization.

    5. About buying a house: Just my monthly economics will fill you in on this, I think. Wage: 1000 Euro. Rent 500 Euro (together with power bills and all). Eating, housing hold expense and the rest 300 Euro. Everything else 200 Euro. Years in University and/or work: Over 10. That’s the economics of the 1000 Euro generation and they weren’t imposed by socialism. One of the reasons that Greeks have their own homes in larger proportion than the rest of Europe is that here (as in Italy and Portugal) family links are still very strong – which means that kids stay with their parents till their 30s or more). Yet, I wonder how long our parents will be around to save the day.

    6. Wages rising in the thirld world – Asian tigers: Have a look at the biggest of them. (So called “Communistic” – ain’t that an irony?) China. I hear they want to divide the rich parts from the poor ones and I hear about wages of a dollar a day.

    7. About extreme poverty: Yes. Well I’m sure this guys statistics will lie on a very certain source that I’m not aware of.

    8. About sweatshops being a must: Again I’ll fail you. I’m not aware of that statistic but I wonder about the percentage of indirect investment and you are very well aware that globalization is full of indirect investments.
    —–
    We’ll never convince each other (of that I’m certain) and few if any people will come by to see this dialogue but nevertheless I enjoyed it (and who knows, maybe both of us did take something new from each other’s views).


  7. now that we have started discussing extreme cases, i’ll give you stats of communist yugoslavia and (until few days ago) neoliberal serbia:

    yugoslavia
    wage: 750e
    pension: i can’t remember, but let’s just say that my granny was buying me a new toy every single day
    rent: free (you get a flat your state-owned company and it stays “yours” (on paper, it’s public property, but your children could continue tto live in it after you die… though you might had to vait until you turn 35 to get it
    healthcare: free
    uni: free
    vacation: free (you go with your family to your company’s resort on the beach in summer, and in your company’s resort up in the mountains in winter
    poverty: none

    neoliberal serbia (we have extremely unequal regional development, i’ll just give you the stats of the best regions to live in today – belgrade, areas around danube and nothern serbia)

    wage: 500e
    rent + bills: 200e
    food + household expense:250e
    everything else: 50e
    healthcare: ok, still free
    uni: free for abut 80% of students, others have to pay fees from 1000e up to 3000e (depending on college attended)


  8. I wish there was a metric for happiness and see that one too. Thank you dear Dule. Your commends (as usual) are pure gold.


  9. if you wonder how this was possible:

    1. good starting point
    before ww2 yugoslavia was 6th richest european country so when communists came to power, they had a lot of things to nationalize

    2. nobody was rich
    instead of the profit being spent on capitalist’s villas, yachts and prostitutes, it was used for building schools, hospitals and new factories and (more then less) equally distributed among entire population

    + to be frank, “tax on world’s stupidity and cold war paranoia”
    the money we were getting from nato countries not to join the warsaw pact + the money soviet union was paying us not to join nato and eu… ok, this was certainly not essential, but it was neither to be dismissed easily…


  10. No villas, no yachts and no prostitutes? Oh man, I don’t know. At least in capitalism I might win in Lotto or something and then fuck, eat and drink till I die 😆

    I’m kidding of course. I think I’d love to live there at these times.



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